The Gold Coast’s sole entry in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht, Maritimo 11, is today making its way back to Newcastle before setting sail for the Gold Coast over the next few days after the Covid-19 related cancellation of the iconic event on Saturday.
Earlier this month, the yacht was farewelled by the Mayor of the City of Gold Coast, Councillor Tom Tate, at a special ceremony involving a flotilla of 18 Maritimo vessels as the 54’ yacht embarked on its journey to Sydney for the prestigious event.
Maritimo’s founder, Bill Barry-Cotter, said he was extremely disappointed in the cancellation of the race, but backed the CYCA’s decision.
“It is very disappointing , but we can totally understand the decision made by race organisers, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, given the number of crew who were in lock down in the Northern beaches region and also Tasmania’s border restrictions on arrivals from new South Wales,” said Barry-Cotter.
Maritimo 11 Skipper, Michael Spies, a veteran of 43 Hobarts, said the yacht and crew were leaving Sydney today and would make their way to Newcastle.
He said Covid-safe practices were being taken very seriously in the leadup to the event, and from Newcastle, the team would then plan to sail back to the Gold Coast.
“We are in planning stages of entering Maritimo 11 in local Gold Coast events out of the Southport Yacht Club in the new year”.
Spies found the Maritimo boat in San Francisco earlier this year and after its arrival on the Gold Coast on June 1 a team of highly skilled Maritimo craftspeople have been working virtually around the clock readying the boat for the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
Barry-Cotter said the Maritimo 11 crew would not be deterred and would be lining up again next year, Covid permitting, to battle it out in the Sydney Hobart, one of the most grueling ocean races in the world.