Two-time Australian Olympic gold medalist in sailing, Mat Belcher, has decided to make his ocean racing debut next month in the South-East Queensland Ocean Racing Qualifier, a 220 nautical mile passage race from Moreton Bay to Brisbane. at Main Beach on the Gold Coast.
He will join the crew of the Maritimo, the elegant 16.5-meter runner of Bill Barry-Cotter.
“I have to look to the future, and ocean racing is one aspect of the sport that I want to try,” Belcher said. “Beyond that this race is a qualifier for the Rolex Sydney-Hobart so there is a chance that I will be competing in Hobart this year as well.”
Barry-Cotter, an acclaimed luxury motor yacht builder and member of the Southport Yacht Club, said he was eager to introduce Belcher to offshore racing.
“It’s a very different world compared to the dinghy competition,” said Barry-Cotter. “Anyway, I’m sure Mat will adapt to ocean racing very quickly. At the same time, I have no doubt that we will benefit from having him on board Maritimo.
Belcher, a Gold Coast resident, learned to sail as a youth at the Southport Yacht Club training center in Hollywell. He has yet to decide whether he will attempt a third Olympic gold medal in 2024.
The qualifying race, scheduled for November 12, will be a curtain-raiser for SYC’s Qoin Sail Paradise regatta which will take place January 3-6 on courses between Main Beach and the NSW / Qld border. The entry list for this series is already impressive with 14 yachts ranging from Stefan’s 24m long Stefan Racing and Bill Barry Cotter’s 16m Maritimo to the 9.4m Boomtown, piloted by Michael Small.
For more information on the SEQ Ocean Racing Qualifier, please contact Southport Yacht Club Sailing Operations Manager Simon Turpin at [email protected]