The exhilarating M32 high performance catamarans are well known as the boat for the World Match Racing Tour. While the tour is contested by experienced teams who professionally race the boats, the M32 is designed to accommodate those who prefer to sail for leisure and fun.
A group initiative between M32 Australia and four sailing clubs in Perth, an M32 Interclub Swan River Exhibition Race Series will be held over three Friday afternoons in August. Round One is on Friday 5 August at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.
David Mills, Director of M32 Australasia comments on the series. “After an amazing Bathers Beach – Fremantle event in the World Match Racing Tour, M32 Australasia now has the exciting opportunity and prospect to introduce the M32 Catamarans into the local clubs and to potential owners. We want to allow you, the local sailors, to get your hands wet and experience these exciting catamarans for yourselves.”
Four M32’s will be sailed by mixed crews who will contest a five race fleet racing series. Each boat will have an M32 endorsed person on-board as coach and a suitably qualified helmsperson. The other three crew are chosen by the clubs and may not necessarily have experienced this type of high performance racing. This encourages participation by sailors from a variety of backgrounds in the sport and teams are encouraged to rotate their crews through interactive hot seat positions. The boats will represent Royal Perth Yacht Club, South of Perth Yacht Club, Fremantle Sailing Club and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.
For the event at RFBYC, 28 sailors will take part and 19 volunteers. Robbie Gibbs will head the team from Royal Perth Yacht Club which will be helmed by Alistair Murchison. Alistair races Etchells and was part of the crew who placed 14th at the 2016 nationals in this highly competitive fleet. For South of Perth Yacht Club, experienced M32 skipper Matt Jerwood will be the coach on board. Matt finished a very credible 3rd overall in the 2016 World Match Racing Tour and will pass on his knowledge and skills to the sailors in his team. Fremantle Sailing Club will have Mark Whittington as coach and Ben Walkemeyer as their helmsperson. Mark is an accomplished sailor in the Laser class and skippered in the Fremantle event of the World Match Racing Tour. Ben has represented Australia in six world championship events of the single handed Laser class dinghy and is in good hands to learn how to race the M32.
The Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club team includes 12 sailors ranging from age 16 to 57 of various experience. The team is in good hands with Sam Gilmour as their coach on-board the M32 and skippers Lachy Gilmour, 19 and Gavin Colby, 38. Sam Gilmour is fresh from the Governor’s Cup in the U.S. where his Neptune Racing Team placed 2nd overall. His match racing team perform well on the circuit and in between these events he trains and races in the two person 49er skiff. His youngest brother Lachy is head coach of the Youth Racing Squad, part of the new RFBYC Sailing Institute and a skilled dinghy sailor and up and coming match racing helm in his own right. Gavin Colby is a talented multihull sailor, twice World Champion in the Hobie 16 class. Recently he placed 2nd overall in the Tornado class World Championship and 2nd across the line in the world’s biggest catamaran event, Round Texel in Holland. Included in the team is Chris Pratt who represented Australia in the Finn class in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.
There will be loads of entertainment for spectators onshore at the RFBYC event with live video streaming to big screens thanks to broadcast partner Front Row Screens, an M32 interactive area, beer tasting with Gage Roads Brewing Co and expert race commentary with Ed Fethers and Ben Durham. Ed is known for his radio show Let’s Go Sailing on 91.3FM and Ben is a professional sailor. Ben has participated in numerous America’s Cup campaigns and is currently main trimmer on Katusha in the RC44 International Yacht Racing Circuit. Ben is also the Head Coach for the Match Racing Squad at the RFBYC Sailing Institute, developing the next generation of sailors and encouraging youth and young adult participation.
Follow Round One of the M32 Interclub Swan River Exhibition Race Series on the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Facebook page or watch the live streaming on YouTube thanks to broadcast partner Front Row Screens and venue caterers, Spices Group.
Photo credit – Ian Roman / WMRT