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From Hobart racers to Kimberley cruisers - Boatmasters is the ticket

by Promedia on 19 Apr
World championship winning yachtsman Michael Spies with Boatmasters’ manager Gary Klein and the racing yacht they plan to race in next year’s Sydney to Hobart. Promedia
The Gold Coast's marine sectors newest servicing and maintenance facility, Boatmasters, on Hope Island is attracting a diverse range of boat owners with wildly different needs.

As an example two vessels currently undergoing significant works at Boatmasters, a Transpac 52 Sydney to Hobart racing machine and a Horizon 68 cruising motoryacht could not be more diverse.

Boatmasters' Manager, Gary Klein, said the facility, which is owned by Maritimo, is able to be 'virtually all things to all people'.

'The Sydney to Hobart racer is a very interesting story and is undergoing a major refurbishment and enhancement program here at Boatmasters to be readied for another tilt at the great race,' he said.

'And the Horizon 68, which has only recently arrived in Australia from Italy, is undergoing works in preparation for its owners to head off on a lifetime adventure up the coast and across to the Kimberley.

'The Horizon is in one of our large sheds which has been rented by the company coordinating the upgrade works for 12 months with a longer term view in mind.

'Both the racing yacht and the Horizon 68 are being worked on by numerous local expert trades people at Boatmasters and their presence here at the shipyard represents a significant economic boost for professionals in the marine industry service and maintenance sector.'

Klein said Boatmasters' 75 ton travel lift easily accommodated the 60 ton Horizon and it was moved from the water to the work shed with ease.

The husband and wife team who own the boat were on hand to witness it being lifted. 'They were naturally feeling nervous as their significant investment was lifted with the customary creaking and stretching of the tackle,' said Klein.

'They are going to undertake works such as refurbishing the bathrooms and updating electrical wiring before heading off on their adventure and we are sure they will be back with more to do once they have completed their trip.'

The boat was brought in from Italy after the purchasers located it on-line for sale in Nice and purchased it from its Dutch owner. It was built in 2008 and launched in 2009. The vessel will be re-named Salt and will be located at either Port Douglas or Hamilton Island after its Kimberley adventure.

The Transpac 52 is a labour of love for five times world sailing champion and veteran of 40 Sydney to Hobart races, Sanctuary Cove based Michael Spies.

'She is a US$3.5 million dollar boat that was damaged at the stern at the start of the Sydney to Hobart two years ago,' he said. 'Today she would cost $5 million to build and the carbon fibre mast alone would be worth around $400,000.

'We are slowly and meticulously bringing her back to her original standard and then optimising her so she is right up there with the very latest in that category of racing,' said Spies.

'She was built by Cooksons in New Zealand so the foundations are all there. 'We just need to bring her back up to standard.'

Spies said the project was a labour of love for him and his partners including sail maker Ian Short.

A professional yacht racer with experience both nationally and internationally Spies said he could not fault the Boatmasters facility and the professionals that operate there.

'It we were trying to undertake a project of this magnitude over such a lengthy timeframe somewhere like in Sydney it would be totally economically prohibitive and the access to professionals and skilled tradespeople would not be as good,' he said.

'Combine that with the fact that Maritimo's founder Bill Barry-Cotter, who cut his teeth in sailing, is here regularly watching what is being done and giving his opinions, is invaluable. ' You can't beat having that sort of knowledge available to you.'

Klein said Boatmasters was available to all boaties no matter what size or brand of vessel they owned. 'We are located at the end of a wide canal which is not impacted by tide or wind so it is very easy for boat owners to ease their vessels onto the travel lift and we have both hard stand and undercover spaces available,' he said.

'Maritimo has relocated its research and development department to Boatmasters so we now have everything from boatbuilding to service and maintenance and Sydney to Hobart race team preparations going on here. 'It is all very exciting.'

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