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The Money Man or the boat bought on a credit card?

The Money Man or the boat bought on a credit card?
Paul Clitheroe’s boat – did he get the ‘Balance’ right? - Protected by Copyright - ROLEX/Stefano Gattini

Paul Clitheroe is one of just a dozen yachts to have finished the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and since doing so, has been in the box seat to claim overall honours in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race.

Now Clitheroe, known to the public as the ‘Money Man’, has to sit and wait for the smallest and second oldest boat in the fleet to finish to discover whether his TP52 Balance has won the race – or not. Will the ‘Balance’ be tipped in his favour remains to be seen.

Shane Kearns has sailed his 34 year-old Quikpoint Azzurro into the lead, but at 12.30pm today, was 12 nautical miles east of Cape Sonnerat, 99 miles from the finish line in Hobart. The S&S34 was powering in a building nor’ easter, getting up to 8.8 knots out of the old yacht he found sinking and purchased on a credit card for $23,000 last year.

Kearns needs to finish the race by 4.43am tomorrow morning to take the Tattersall’s Cup from Balance, and at the moment, based on conditions and his boat speed, should finish by dusk this evening. However, this is the time when the River Derwent likes to shut down – the wind gods depriving the river, and therefore sailing boats, of breeze.

Quikpoint Azzurro is likely to round Tasman Island late this afternoon, but what awaits her around the corner will decide who wins.

Kearns has a dream. He won the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in August, his first ever major race win. Even more importantly to the Sydneysider, he beat ‘Hicko’ – Roger Hickman and Wild Rose and dubbed his boat ‘the little boat that could’.

Meanwhile, one would expect Paul Clitheroe and crew to be pacing the docks, waiting to see if ‘the little boat that could will take the prize from him. But you would be wrong. Clitheroe is not like other owners – nothing like them.

“No, I’m not pacing like an expectant father. There’s nothing I can do about it. Obviously it would be an enormous honour to win this wonderful race,” the CYCA Director said, “but hey, I’ve won Division 1 and nobody can take that from me. How cool is that?”

So what is Clitheroe doing to while away the hours – he will probably not know his fate until very late tonight or into the early hours of tomorrow morning. “We had a small diesel spill and it’s made the boat stink. Me and the crew are here scrubbing the boat, trying to get rid of  the smell,” he said.

“We want to take it from smelling like a diesel swamp to smelling like a boat again,” he said laughing.

Back on the subject of Quikpoint Azzurro, Clitheroe says: “Hey, if the little boat can knock us off, good luck to them. I’ll be the first one on the dock congratulating them.” 

Di Pearson, RSHYR Media