Owen's Mad Max claims fourth win
SYDNEY skipper George Owen mastered the Great Sandy Strait to take out the 31st annual Bay to Bay yacht race at the weekend.
The popular event, Australia’s largest trailable yacht race, attracted a field of 155 yachts and almost 800 sailors.
Owen’s yacht, a 10m multihull dubbed Mad Max, claimed line honours in Hervey Bay on Sunday after starting its journey from Tin Can Bay on Saturday.
The victory was the fourth straight for Owen who is feeling great affinity with the Bay to Bay format.
Mad Max reached speeds of up to 17 knots despite the eight-knot breeze to power its way up the spectacularly scenic Great Sandy Strait.
While Owen set the pace, other competitors enjoyed the trip, particularly after festivities during a stopover on Fraser Island.
Owen was thrilled with his victory after towing Mad Max all the way up from Sydney.
“This is a great race. So well organised and a credit to the sailing club,” he said to the Fraser Coast Chronicle’s Nat Bromhead at the finish line.
“We love racing here. It’s a wonderful town and we look forward to getting back next year.”
While a large crowd gathered in Hervey Bay for the finish, a similarly enthusiastic crowd farewelled sailors on their journey from Tin Can Bay on Saturday.
The race was a major boon for Tin Can Bay, coinciding with a warbirds display to ensure the seaside town’s population soared.
The Tin Can Bay economy was a major beneficiary, helping the ongoing recovery after months of poor weather hampered tourism.
The history of the Bay to Bay yacht race traces back to 1980 when 14 people sat down to plan a trailer yacht race.
From its humble beginnings, the race has taken on a life of its own, becoming a firm favourite on many a sailor’s calendar.
Next year, Owen and Mad Max will return hoping for a record fifth title and many would happily rate him a firm favourite for the achievement.