When the 116 year old ketch, Katwinchar, crossed the finish line in the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race after a grueling four days and six hours at sea a fire was ignited in the heart Australian boating industry legend and ketch owner, Bill Barry-Cotter.
And that moment culminated this week in a major event involving Gold Coast Mayor Councillor Tom Tate, 100 invited guests and an armada of 20 Maritimo luxury motor yachts farewelling Maritimo Racing Division’s, Maritimo 11, a 54 foot sleek racing yacht set to compete in the 2020 Sydney Hobart Yacht race.
Mayor Tate in wishing Maritimo 11 all the best on behalf of the city said its campaign epitomised the entrepreneurial ‘have a go culture’ the city was famous for. He thanked Barry-Cotter for branding Maritimo 11 with the Australia’s Gold Coast international marketing logo.
Whether it was his innate competitiveness, the nostalgic memories of sailing on Sydney Harbour with brother Kendal as a boy or just the love of the ocean, Bill was overcome with an inner urge to sail once again, and decided on the dock in Hobart there was more to come.
Bill and brother Kendal last set sail together in the Sydney Hobart in 1976 when they sailed Bill’s Carter 33 named Ghost to a divisional win.
Fast forward to January this year, prior to Covid-19 effecting the entire globe, the Maritimo founder sent off brother Kendal and sailing team captain, Michael Spies to ‘find the right boat for the next Rolex Sydney Hobart’.
Calling on old contacts and decades of experience in international yachting circles, which includes 43 Sydney Hobart campaigns, Spies searched the globe for the perfect yacht for Maritimo’s next Hobart challenge.
The ideal fit for Maritimo was discovered in San Francisco.
The 54 foot Westerly marine built yacht, named Swiftsure 2, was found and met all of Maritimo’s criteria, to bring back to Maritimo’s Special Projects division at Maritimo’s state of the art Australian based manufacturing facilities.
The vessel was owned by the Cal Maritime College having been donated by the family of the late USA sailing great Simon (Sy) Kleinman who raced the vessel with considerable success to an age of 96 in 2017.
Swiftsure 2 was designed by Carl Schumacher and under Kleinman’s watch it had won numerous races including five Rolex Big Boat Series races out of San Francisco.
“It had won virtually everything going and has an enviable following amongst yachting circles in the USA,” said Spies.
Spies said the plan was to ready the yacht in the USA for a race to Tahiti, but then Covid-19 hit and complicated plans.
“We instead prepared the yacht to ship back to Australia, instead of sail, and against the odds we managed to get it to the Koheler Yard in San Diego just as the rest of the marine industry in the USA went into shut down,” said Spies.
“We managed to load the yacht on the ship before being locked down, and the yacht arrived at the Maritimo Special Projects Division on the Gold Coast in early June.”
With the experience of the complex two year restoration of the recent Katwinchar project to draw on a team of Maritimo’s craftspeople, set about transforming Swiftsure 2 into ‘Maritimo 11’ in readiness of the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart.
“The whole project is has been undertaken by Maritimo craftspeople and apprentices, which adds so much benefit to the quality of Maritimo’s motor yachts, as their craftspeople develop such diverse skill sets and knowledge gaining experience in projects like these” said Spies.
For Spies this year’s event will be his 44th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. He has previously won handicap and line honours titles, is a former race record holder and has won five world championships.
Sailmaker and crew member Ian Short is proprietor of Ian Short Sails. The Short family marine dynasty has been associated with the Barry-Cotter family for decades. Ian is at the cutting edge of development of composite and has crafted a full set of carbon fibre sails for Maritimo.
“Going to Ian was a logical choice for us given his products and recent race results and is in line with our policy of supporting Australian manufacturers where possible,” said Bill Barry-Cotter.
Maritimo 11 departed from the Gold Coast on November 27 after the ceremony to farewell the team involving the Mayor of the City of Gold Coast, Councillor Tom Tate. An armada of Maritimo yachts escorted the yacht out through the Gold Coast Seaway and sent it on its way to Sydney.
Now in Sydney, it will compete in pre Rolex Sydney Hobart qualifying series races.
Maritimo 11 will also represent the City of the Gold Coast by flying an ‘Australia’s Gold Coast’ spinnaker, It will be the only registered competitor for this year’s race from the city.
“We hope to make the city of the Gold Coast very proud of Maritimo 11” said Spies.