[Source: Rolex Sydney Hobart] Geoff Boettcher’s South Australian yacht Secret Men’s Business 3.5 was announced this afternoon as this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Overall winner. In a dockside presentation, CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre presented the Adelaide-based skipper with the Tattersall’s Cup for his race win, and Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia presented a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece as the holiday crowd thronged the surrounding Constitution Wharf docks.
Secret Men’s Business was the 14th boat across the finish line in a race where just finishing was an achievement. Severe wind and weather conditions contributed to the retirement of twenty percent of the fleet this year.
Boettcher was the second winner from South Australia in a row – and like last year’s winner Andrew Saie’s of Two True, Boettcher sails from the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia.
When asked how it feels to win the legendary Rolex Sydney Hobart race, Boettcher’s face lit up and he said, “As a kid it’s something you always dream of. Just doing the race is fantastic, but to be a winner is the ultimate in sailing for Australian blokes.”
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Handicap Winner: SECRET MENS BUSINESS 3.5. Photo copyright ROLEX / Daniel Forster
Last year, Boettcher modified Secret Men’s Business 3.5 to improve the 51-foot Reichel Pugh design’s upwind performance. The modification seems to have paid some handsome dividends. “We kept the rig, the deck, keel, rudder and electronics, but the hull was completely new. We added a metre to her length while we were at it,” Boettcher said.
About the boat’s performance in the race Boettcher commented, “It was great. We hadn’t really tested it. We’d taken it around to Sydney and Hamilton Island. Not a lot of miles and not in the real hard conditions that we had during this race, so we’re pretty proud — she hung in there nicely.”
A veteran of now 22 Rolex Sydney Hobart races, Boettcher summed up this year’s race conditions in one word: “Tough.” He explained, “It was a tough one with a little bit of everything. We clocked 50 knots of breeze out there on the track and the waves were damaging. I don’t know how many of the fleet have retired but I know it’s a big percentage. So it was hard, and to win one that was this hard is very gratifying.”
Asked what drives him to compete in what is more often than not, a gruelling offshore classic, the 64-year-old supermarket owner replied, “I suppose to have a win in your life, and the camaraderie of the really fantastic guys standing next to me. I think it’s a camaraderie thing of just getting there (to the finish) together.” He continued, “It’s something special to take your boat to Sydney and compete against all the rest. In Adelaide we don’t have the competition that’s put on here. The Rolex Sydney Hobart is the pinnacle and that’s the one we want to be in.”
Asked whether he’ll be taking part in next year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race, Boettcher laughed and said, “It’s early stages yet. At my age we’re running out of runway for anything else!”
As of 1530, 36 boats had finished the race, 33 were still racing and 18 had retired. While today’s award of the Tattersall’s Cup has been made, for half of the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet their race is, by any means, not over.