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Olympic Sailing Gold Medallist, Mat Belcher, to try ocean yacht racing

by Virginia Riddle-Cross 7 Oct 00:41 PDT
Southport Yacht Club's new Superyacht Dock will be headquarters for many of the race yachts © Virginia Riddle-Cross

Australia's dual Olympic sailing gold medallist, Mat Belcher, has decided to make his ocean racing debut in next month's South-East Queensland Ocean Racing Qualifier, a 220-nautical-mile passage race from Brisbane's Moreton Bay to Main Beach on the Gold Coast.

He will join the crew of the Bill Barry-Cotter's sleek 16.5 metre long racer, Maritimo.

"I have to look to the future, and ocean racing is one aspect of the sport I want to try," Belcher said. "Beyond that, this race is a qualifier for the Rolex Sydney-Hobart, so there is a chance I might do this year's Hobart as well."

Barry-Cotter, an acclaimed luxury motor yacht builder and Southport Yacht Club member, said he was looking forward to introducing Belcher to offshore racing.

"It's very different world when compared with competing in sailing dinghies," Barry-Cotter said. "Regardless, I'm sure Mat will adapt to ocean racing very quickly. At the same time, I have no doubt we will benefit from having him aboard Maritimo."

Belcher, a Gold Coast local, learned to sail as a youngster at Southport Yacht Club's training facility at Hollywell. He has yet to decide if he will go for a third Olympic Gold in 2025.

The Qualifier race will be a curtain raiser for SYC's Qoin Sail Paradise Regatta which will be staged from January 3-6 over courses set between Main Beach and the NSW/Qld border. The entry list for this series is already impressive with 14 yachts ranging in size from Stefan's 24m long Stefan Racing, and Bill Barry Cotter's 16m long Maritimo down to the 9.4m Boomtown, raced by Michael Small.

For more information on the SEQ Ocean Racing Qualifier please contact Southport Yacht Club's Sailing Operations Manager, Simon Turpin, at .

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