Maritimo Racing had two entries in the prestigious Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Proudly representing the Gold Coast, Maritimo Racing was the only team to enter two yachts, Maritimo 52 and Maritimo 54, in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR). Maritimo is also unique as the only luxury motor yacht manufacturer in the world with a dedicated racing division and world championship offshore powerboat race team all in-house.

On Boxing Day, both yachts, Maritimo 52 (a TP52) and Maritimo 54 (a Schumacher 54) lined up on the start line for the 78th edition of the iconic blue water race. Michael Spies, a veteran of 44 RSHYRs was at the helm of Maritimo 52 and Bill Barry-Cotter’s brother, Kendal Barry-Cotter, who has 11 ‘Hobarts’ under his belt, was at the helm of Maritimo 54. “It was a testament to the skills and craftsmanship of our tradespeople, that our two Maritimo sailing yachts were flying the flag for the Gold Coast in the 2023 RSHYR,” said Maritimo Managing Director Tom Barry-Cotter.

The 628 nautical mile RSHYC course is often described as one of the most gruelling ocean races in the world, attracting sailors from around the globe and the cream of Australian entries. The unforgiving nature of the race was especially felt by the crew of Maritimo 52, with brutal weather conditions causing damage to Maritimo 52 which ultimately forced the yacht to retire early from the race.

Impossible to continue

The TP2 sustained rig damage offshore from the NSW South Coast. This ultimately caused other damage and shredded two of the sails on the yacht, making it impossible for Maritimo 52 to continue. “It was around 1 am in pitch black conditions, rain almost horizontal and so sharp that you felt like it was almost cutting your face,” said Spies. “We were south of Jervis Bay, 115 miles down the course and the weather was shocking,” explained crew member Peter Jones. “We had as much lightning as I’ve ever seen. The sou-west front came through, we saw high 20s to early 30s (knots) and had solid rain for three hours. The fitting on the deck for the forestay shredded, which ripped the No. 4 headsail and the mainsail. We tried to work a million ways around it, but we would have been sailing at 50 percent. We were all shattered but luckily everyone on board was fine.”

Continuing on for Team Maritimo

Following Maritimo 52’s withdrawal, it was left to Maritimo 54 to continue flying the flag for Maritimo Racing. Maritimo 54 arrived in Hobart at 4 am on 30 December after what skipper Kendal Barry-Cotter described as a “good race”.

“Our crew on Maritimo 54 were well prepared for whatever the weather threw at us,” said Kendal. “It was the most ‘confused’ weather patterns I have ever sailed the RSHYR in. The conditions ranged from raging thunderstorms, light wind, no wind to wild lightning shows. You name it and we experienced in on our way down to Hobart!”

On the morning that Maritimo 54 crossed the finish line, just 30 yachts from 103 starters had finished the RSHYR, with 16 yachts retired from the race including Maritimo 52. Maritimo 54 finished 27th overall in the RSHYR. Backing up after RSHYR Maritimo 54 went on to compete in the King of the Derwent race with Michael Spies taking over as Skipper. Maritimo 54 came third in the 2024 King of the Derwent, following on from their win last year.


Photography by Andrea Francolini and Kurt Arrigo courtesy of Maritimo and Rolex.

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