He was at a funeral…
“I mentioned I had this boat and was doing the Hobart. No-one said anything, we all just started looking at each other until Michael Doherty said ‘how many crew do you need?’”
Shane Kearns – Skipper
A career soldier (Royal Australian Engineers) who only started sailing when his rugby career was coming to an end and he needed another sport that allowed plenty of time off!
After discharge from the Defence Force, Shane started Getaway Sailing Adventures and specialised in trips to Lord Howe island with novice sailors, doing the trip over 30 times.
Shane also conducted many Safety and Sea Survival courses throughout Australia, Hong Kong and NZ as one of the only instructors to finish the 98 Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Shane also sailed with the late John Walker on his Petersen 34 Impeccable, where he first met the rest of his current crew.
After John died in 2014, the crew reunited to sail “the little boat that could” to try and win their first Hobart!
2019 will be Shane’s 16th Hobart.
Jim Nixon – Sailing Master
Jim’s first sailing adventure was on a leaky raft built from petrol drums scavenged from Lane Cove tip along the nearby river.
Soon the lure of that river took hold, with a childhood spent mucking around in boats of all types.
Next came the step up to the harbour in various cats, dinghies and small keelboats, JOG boats, half-tonners and NS38’s.
Then the open ocean on boats such as, Impeccable, Pippin, Atara, Phoenix, Morna, Copernicus, Pisces and now Komatsu Azzurro, which between them have won most of the Cat 1 and 2 ocean and BWS points score races over those years under IOR, IMS, IRC and ORCi handicaps.
He races his own highly modified Swanson Dart at Manly YC with a gorgeous all-girl crew.
2019 will be Jim’s 26th Hobart.
Duncan McRae – Foredeck
Duncan somewhat surprisingly continued sailing in his teens despite shipwrecking a friend’s Flying 11 on Rocky Point at Balmoral in the early days.
An extended period doing bow on various Adam’s 10’s was rudely interrupted by a casual sail on ‘the rotbox’ (Impeccable) in a Wollongong race in about 1996.
Induction to the cult of Impeccable was swift, and he raced with John Walker for many years, continuing with the same core crew to this day on the mighty (shinybox) Komatsu Azzurro.
He mostly sails an NS14 in the placid upper reaches of the Parramatta river with one of his three children, until he forgets the joys of offshore sailing and commits to yet another Hobart.
2019 will be Duncan’s 19th Hobart.
Michael Doherty – Mainsheet and trim
As Michael’s father was a Naval Architect by profession and boat builder in his spare time he was under the influence of boating from his beginnings. A Manly Junior on Sydney harbour was his first venture into sailing. He lives on Pittwater’s western shore where getting to and from home is just another boat ride. He also sails a Farr 1020 on Pittwater.
Michael’s first Sydney/Hobart was in 1978 with the Rice family on their 3/4 tonner, Chance. In 1981 he joined John Walker for the first of many Impeccable rides to Hobart. After a number of Hobarts on Greg Zyner’s Copernicus, Michael is looking forward to sail to Hobart this year on Shane Kearn’s Komatsu Azzurro with, yet again, John’s Impeccable group of sailors.
2019 will be Michael’s 18th Hobart.
After many years of climbing and Kayaking, fatherhood required a slight change of course. The purchase of an old 34′ timber sloop Turua enabled childcare afloat and a crash course in sailing. This soon led to being recruited as bowman on David Taylor’s Sydney 36 Pisces, for the 2006 Hobart race. This in turn led to many other ocean races with Pisces, Copernicus, Bellandean, Fork in the road and Komatsu Azzurro. Being Hobart based the “Sydney” race provides an entertaining ride home!
2019 will be Adrian’s 5th Hobart.
Find out more about the story and history of Komatsu Azzurro »