Broad Reaching Community Spirit
There are two yachts who recently enjoyed success at Australian sailing regattas. Two very different yachts with two very different crews but both experiencing successes at a competitive level. And the common denominator? A community of trades and sailing enthusiasts at Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM) who work seamlessly as a team to service them.
Danielle Hutcheson is the skipper of 32-foot Sydney yacht, Onyx; an asset of the family-owned chandlery at GCCM, Australian Boating Supplies. Three and a half years ago, Danielle’s parents, Dave and Helen, purchased Onyx with the clear objective to encouraging more youth into keelboat sailing.
Now, Danielle is the skipper of a six-strong crew of which two are teenagers. From its base at GCCM, Onyx is a regular on the Summer, Passage and Winter regattas run by Southport Yacht Club as well as Hamilton Island Race Week.
“We love the community at GCCM. It is a great group of people. We call on Wicked Fabrication, AME, Pacific Trim and Bradford Marine to complete our work list. JCMS Rigging is always dropping past the yacht to check the rigging and Harbourforce support us by detailing the yacht and sponsoring Onyx. GCCM is our biggest sponsor and partner and if it were not for the dedication of Travis, we might have not made our Hamilton Island campaign this year,” explained Danielle.
Just 48 hours from heading north, Onyx needed to be lifted for some emergency work on the sail drive. At 4.30pm on a Monday, Danielle contacted Travis Slatter, GCCM Operations Manager, for an emergency lift. Within 24 hours, the yacht had been lifted, the problem rectified and returned to the water allowing Danielle and her crew to go onto place second in their division in Hamilton Island. If it weren’t for the collaborative community spirit that exists amongst the GCCM marine family, Danielle and young crew may have been delayed in their winter sailing campaign.
“We were really excited when we heard of Hutcheson’s family plan to get involved in youth sailing, so we were more than happy to support them not only as tenants but sailors. Like many of our tenants, Danielle and her family are boat owners and bring their first-hand knowledge to the benefit of GCCM’s customer and the community. It is commitments and passions like theirs which will see the continued growth of our industry with GCCM firmly at its centre,” said Luke McCaul, General Manager of Customer Experience and Property Management.
At the other end of the spectrum and facility is Graham ‘Scooter’ Eaton co-owner/captain of BumbleBee 4 and head of AME, another GCCM tenant. BumbleBee 4’s crew is made up of some of Australia’s more seasoned sailors and 2018 has been a great start to the yacht’s return to the more classic sailing divisions; divisions gathering momentum and interest. This year, the team was rewarded with coming first in Cruising Division 1 at the Airlie Beach event.
Having completed an extensive eight month refit in the keel pit at GCCM earlier in the year, it was the first time the yacht had raced in the Airlie Beach Race Week and several years since she had competed at Hamilton Island – the last being 2015 under the Ragamuffin name.
“There was a substantial difference in boat speed this year as a direct result of the work carried out at GCCM which included sand blasting and refairing below water line and completely stripping and replacing all electrical components. All of which has made her a little lighter with an excellent bottom finish. BumbleBee 4 gave us at least one extra knot of speed which our competitors noticed. We were happy to tell them it came down to the refit. Bumblebee 4 is as good as the day she was launched in 1979 – if not better – and this is all due to the help from everyone at GCCM,” explained Scooter.
Aside from Scooter and the crew, GCCM’s tenants AME, Blackpond Consultants, Bradford Marine, JCMS Rigging, Jotun, Precision Diesel Works, Pacific Trim, South Pacific Marine Group, Sweep Marine Services and Rene Refrigeration were eagerly waiting BumbleBee 4’s results as they had worked tirelessly to bring her a renewed sailing career.
“GCCM would like to extend their congratulations to both Onyx and BumbleBee 4 not only for their success at competition yet also their contribution to the Australian sailing scene. At GCCM we see the importance of sailing and are glad to lead a community which values it equally,” said GCCM’s CEO, Trenton Gay.
GCCM has over 80 onsite trades employing 800 craftsmen including specialist riggers as well as a purpose-built keel pit and boom lift so sailing yachts can enjoy easy access during yard work.