Two RFBYC teams from Perth preparing for assault on Sydney-Hobart

For the 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, there will be two entrants from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Western Australia. The picturesque river based venue is proudly the home club to these two competitive offshore teams, Peter Hickson’s M3, a TP52, and Craig Carter’s Carkeek 47, Indian.

Indian contested the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart, crossing the line in a credible 17th position out of 120 starters. Immediately after the race, the crew packed up and trucked her back across the country to compete in the home season which included a win in the Fremantle to Bali Race.

For the M3 team, while this will be their first attempt at the magnificent race, but they have plenty of experience on-board. Of the 15 crew, nine have raced from Sydney to Hobart at least once in previous years and they have at least 30 finishes in the race between them. Talented young helm, Brent Fowler is playing a key role in preparing the TP52 and her crew. As well as ensuring their team is in sync with each other and aware of all procedures, the 27-year-old is busy tuning new sails for the yacht. Brent, from Quantum Sails Perth, is sure he has the correct ingredients in a new mainsail and A2. He feels he can achieve “a bit more punch surfing waves downwind”.

Another young crew on the M3 team, Kenny Ireland, is no stranger to the race south but has experienced sunny and pleasant conditions in the past. He is hoping for a more challenging race this time around and commented, “This is a great chance to sail with my mates on a good boat in a really fantastic race.”

RFBYC is active in engaging young adults with the sport of sailing. Providing opportunities to young sailors to assist in retaining them in the sport is of upmost importance to the Club. Of the 11 crew members on Indian, seven are under the age of 33. Three of those sailors have been participants in RFBYC’s JESS programme. Inaugurated in 1988, the tour takes six young sailors to Europe to compete in major regattas in a team environment, a great life experience for youth. The 2016 team will be announced soon.

M3 and Indian will compete in the Fremantle to Geraldton race as a warm up for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The Geraldton Ocean Classic starts on Friday 23 October and will form part of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia qualifying requirements for the WA teams as well as some vital final preparations before the yachts depart for their land based journey east. Both yachts will race north with their full Sydney to Hobart crew.

Similar to Brent on M3, for Indian, Paul Eldrid from One Sails Perth has the role of sailmaker and boat captain. The co-skipper of the Carkeek 47 comments, “We are looking forward to the race to Geraldton, it’s not too long but a great warm up for our crew who give 100% to their yachting. We have a lot invested in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and while this race can certainly be variable and challenging, it does allow us to manage our boat and team to ensure we are in good shape for the big race on Boxing Day.”

Owners, Hickson and Carter are pleased to have such great rivalry and friendship between their teams. Peter Hickson commented, “Having two yachts from the same club in WA travel to compete in the race is amazing, even better that we are friends and our yachts race competitively at home.” He also acknowledged the unrelenting encouragement from his friend Craig Carter, to purchase the TP52 and contest the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Other RFBYC members, Brian McMaster and John Naughton have given added impetus to the M3 syndicate to take on this fantastic challenge. With over 90 entries already received by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, it will be a great experience for the Western Australian teams.

Susan Ghent
RFBYC Offshore Media

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