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Maritimo 2023 M600 LEADERBOARD

20th Anniversary Maritimo Chapter 6

by Maritimo 1 Mar 00:43 PST
Maritimo Racing © Maritimo

The spirit of competition has always been at the very core of everything that Maritimo creates. Competition is not just about winning; competition runs much deeper than that. It's about creating an environment and a culture that strives to bring out the very best in the individual, the team and the organisation as a whole. Winning can be the ultimate reward, but there are many other benefits to be attained from this competitive attitude.

Maritimo's Founder Bill Barry-Cotter loved to compete right from his earliest days. A chance to sail on Sydney's Pittwater in his teens kindled a passion for being on the water and not long after, at the age of 16, a boat building apprenticeship commenced. Bill sailed competitively in dinghies out of the BYRA Sailing Club at Bayview, Pittwater until the mid-60's as the Mariner brand was firmly established and growing.

Although Mariner was renowned for their motorboats Bill's underlying passion for sailing saw the factory produce many a sailboat too, notably half ton and three-quarter ton boats for the International Offshore Classes, in which he competed along with his brother, Kendall.

"I wanted to build a powercat. So, I brought Michael Peters out from the USA. He was the best designer in the world. He had built most of the winners. We started there. You know you are developing all the time - looking for a competitive edge. The next couple of boats I designed were smaller again, but they were running the same engines, the Detroit Diesels. Then it was onto another new boat, new engines, the Lamborghinis and it had to be smaller. It was effectively a wing flying!" Recalled Bill.

With the establishment of Maritimo the company and Maritimo Racing in the early 2000s there was an even greater focus on Offshore Power Boat Racing Class 1 and both Bill and his son Tom competed together at the highest level both abroad, and at home. Legendary names in power boat racing, such as Ross 'Rosco' Willaton and Peter 'Muddy' McGrath have been woven into the fabric along the way and certainly engraved deeply into the silverware.

On the home front, Maritimo have celebrated more Championship wins than any other team in history with 16 Australian Offshore Superboat 'AUS1' Championships. Internationally, the Maritimo Racing team of Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton has also beaten the world's best having been crowned the UIM XCAT World Champions and XCAT Pole Position World Champions in 2019. Other accolades include the UIM World Championship and the APBA World Championship at Key West.

"Tom pushes every aspect of the design. He's been working around boats since he was seven years old - his passion for racing, development and boat design and building is immense. The instant he got in a boat with me to go racing he was trying to alter it! He perseveres with every detail, no matter how small," Bill added.

Maritimo Racing's sail programme really kicked off with the complete and detailed restoration of Katwinchar, which had been the Barry-Cotter family vessel when Bill and his brother Kendall were just boys. She subsequently entered in the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race and won the Grand Veterans division. Her elapsed time was 4 days 6 hours 27 minutes 47 seconds, which is very handy for a 32-foot ketch, let alone one that is 119 years old. Still, considering she sailed from England to Australia back in 1951, it would seem anything is in her stride.

There's a long pedigree in yachting for Bill, who was actually part of the Australian Champion ¾ tonner crew in 1975, in a campaign that included other luminaries like the great Ken Beashel. Accordingly, it is no wonder that Barry-Cotter's sights were set even higher after Katwinchar, and Skipper Michael Spies was tasked with finding a larger, faster, and more comfortable vessel. Cue the famous Schumacher 54 from San Francisco, which after a birthday refit came out in the famous white and black Maritimo Racing livery, and took out races like the very hardy Westcoaster from Melbourne to Hobart in 2022, as well as Line Honours in the Brisbane to Gladstone race, and most recently her division at the Festival of Sail in Geelong.

The search for speed continued, and soon the ex-Patches TP52 penned by the famous Reichel/Pugh team and built by Green Marine joined the fold. She too would have a birthday as part of her commissioning into the fleet, and just recently took out the Surf to City race (Southport to Brisbane) and was just on one hour ahead of nearest rivals. It is no wonder she is the current IRC Champion in Queensland.

Bill is still very much in love with sailing, and the need for something even cruisier has led to the acquisition of an Oyster 100. Very much more down the line of superyacht, there is a distinct pedigree there that will mean 250 nautical mile days are assured in both cruise and passage race modes. It will be most competitive against the other lifestyle vessels around, and will relish the trade winds of the Whitsundays, Auckland's Millennium Cup, the Hong Kong to Vietnam sleigh ride, Malaysia's Raja Muda, and even Sardinia, when there is good wind.

"You know, Bill being Bill, he likes getting his boats back into the shed and giving them the Maritimo makeover. He's very analytical and there are a few things he wants to upgrade. We try out things in the ocean for the galley, electronics and communication devices, as well as latches and hardware that go into the production boats. All these knick-knacks get real world R&D from what we do at sea. To say nothing of training staff and junior sailors," said Spies.

"It's great to race for someone who is just as passionate about winning as I know I am."

Stay tuned for next story as we take a look at the people behind the Maritimo brand, our talented Staff.

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