Local skipper wins big yacht race

Proud sailors of the Coopers: Tony Willis, Matt Kotwas, Angela Hadwen, Craig Watson, Tristan Hamilton, John Paech, Geoff McNamara.

Mullumbimby pharmacist Craig Watson has skippered racing yacht Coopers to a win in his first attempt at the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race over Easter.

‘This was the 70th year for this classic Queensland ocean yacht race and there were 60 competitors. Coopers won PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) Division two, and came second in the Cruising Division,’ he said.

Craig also earned the Newcomers Trophy as it was his first attempt at this event. 

Coopers covered the 308 nautical miles in 33 hours and 52 minutes.

‘The race saw winds of up to 30 knots, with 3–4-metre swells and Coopers recorded speeds up to 21.4 knots surfing down waves,’ he said.

‘I have been sailing since I was 10, racing Sabots at Mooloolaba Yacht Club, and have competed in 20 Hamilton Island Race Weeks where we have collected first, second and third over the years.’

Local fireman Tony Willis has been a regular bowman on Coopers. 

‘We are hoping to compete in the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel Yacht Race in preparation for this year’s Sydney to Hobart,’ he said.

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