Maxi Ragamuffin makes a yacht rac­ing come­back

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

THE well known yacht and for­mer Syd­ney-Ho­bart win­ner, Maxi Ragamuffin, made a come­back to rac­ing this year at Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week.

Maxi Ragamuffin spent many years in the Whit­sun­days as a char­ter boat; how­ever the 27 tonne yacht had not raced for 21 years un­til this week.

Maxi Ragamuffin is a Ger­man Fr­ers de­sign built in Mona Vale in Syd­ney in 1979.

In the same year, when rac­ing as Bum­ble­bee IV for John Kahlbet­zer, the boat took line hon­ours in the Syd­ney-Ho­bart.

Un­der Syd Fis­cher’s charge an­other two line hon­ours tri­umphs would be­long to the fa­mous maxi and Ragamuffin moniker in 1988 and 1990.

The boat joined the 93-boat fleet at the in­au­gu­ral Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week in 1984 be­fore it was con­verted to a day char­ter boat in 1993 and re­mained in the Whit­sun­days un­til last year.

The yacht had a make-over in 2010 af­ter be­ing dam­aged in Cy­clone Ului.

Maxi Ragamuffin’s new owner Keith Batt has grand plans for the 80-footer he pur­chased less than a year ago, start­ing with Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week fol­lowed by the Rolex Syd­ney-Ho­bart race in De­cem­ber.

In seven years, Maxi Ragamuffin will head to Europe and the UK to re­trace the epic sail­ing jour­ney of the Nant Es­tate’s orig­i­nal set­tler who made the 10,000 mile jour­ney from Cardiff to Van Diemen’s Land in 1821 to set up a whisky dis­tillery.

Some yachts in the Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week fleet have power winches, elec­tric furl­ing sails and cant­ing keels.

But it’s old-fash­ioned grunt on Maxi Ragamuffin with the orig­i­nal cleats and winches and plenty of lug­ging, grind­ing and a heart-start­ing work­out at ev­ery sail change and hoist for the 17-man crew.

Given its vin­tage, try­ing to find parts for the ag­ing deck ware is prov­ing chal­leng­ing.

Gra­ham ‘Scooter’ Ea­ton from AME is over­see­ing the re­fur­bish­ment and he’s had to ar­range for re­place­ment parts to be spe­cially milled.

Some of the boat’s orig­i­nal sails dusted off for Race Week haven’t been used since 1993; dug out of stor­age in Air­lie Beach.

Also in Maxi Ragamuffin’s cruis­ing di­vi­sion 1 is an­other big boat from a by-gone era - Con­dor, a two-time line hon­ours win­ner in the Syd­neyHo­bart race and win­ner of the fa­mous Fast­net race out of Eng­land, and White­birds, an alu­minium built Kel Stein­man de­sign orig­i­nally launched as Bob­sled.

OL' TIMER: Maxi Ragamuffin in ac­tion dur­ing Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week just off Dent Is­land. Photo by An­drea Fran­col­ini/AUDI.

DOCK­SIDE: Maxi Ragamuffin owner Keith Batt at Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week. Photo by An­drea Fran­col­ini/AUDI.

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