Tony Considine first caught the Marlay Point bug in 1984 and has returned to compete in the iconic overnight sailing race at least 15 times. He is looking forward to bringing his trimaran DM24 Fury Road to the Gippsland Lakes in March 2018 for the C.H Robinson 50th Anniversary Race.
Traditionally recognised as the Sydney-Hobart for trailable yachts, a growing number of trailable multis are entering the race and the competition between them is fierce. Tony would like to see this number continue to grow, and says the 50th anniversary is the year to enter.
It’s the challenge of the race that appeals to Tony, as the Marlay Point Overnight Race offers a unique set of sailing conditions that are not found in other races around the country.
Firstly, it’s sailed at night. It starts at sunset and most boats don’t finish until after sunrise the next morning.
Secondly, at over 35nm it’s a long distance race that requires great navigational skills and intense concentration. Skills that may be a wonderful challenge to newcomers to the sport.
Thirdly, it’s safe and allows for a lot of fun to be had. The race takes place in the protected waters of the Gippsland Lakes, and there are always other boats in sight.
It’s these reasons Tony believes the race should be on every sailors bucket list.
“Someone said to me once, and it’s always stuck in my mind, ‘every sailor has to do one Marlay Point in their life.’ I think that’s really true. To those that haven’t done it, come and try it, you’ll experience what brings people back year after year. Heaps of people have done 20 or 30 of these races.”
Considine is well-known in the Australian racing circuit, and the passionate multi-hull racer competes in many large and small regattas across the land.
He says his 2018 racing calendar is already jam-packed – with the Multihull Australian Nationals in Victoria in January, King of the Gulf in Port Vincent in February, followed closely by the C.H Robinson 50th Marlay Point Overnight Race on March 10.
He admits he’s lucky to have flexible crew who can commit to such a busy schedule, and he hopes other trailable multi-hulls will be doing the same mileage he is.
He already knows of two tris that will enter the milestone 2018 race and expects an old foe, Clive Kennedy from Wangi, to return to challenge him to the podium. Tony says the battle lines were drawn years ago when his former boat, Mad Max, smashed the record in 2009.
“Mad Max shattered the record one year, crossing the finishing line before midnight. It took us around three hours and 49 minutes. Clive had a 30ft cat as well and was just 10 minutes behind us. It was amazing, we were both flying through the night. He’s now got a Farrier F-82SR and he’s coming back for vengeance.”
Of Fury Road, Tony said while he won’t be on board in 2018, they will race with three crew, including skipper George Owen.
“The whole boat only weighs 560kg, so you don’t want to load it up. The crew are shaking at the thought of doing an all-nighter on a boat with no accommodation and no protection. They’ll just have to rug up or wear wet suits. The boat complies with all safety regulations, including navigation lights. Carrying the outboard is a bit of a pain, but it can cope with it.”
The course starts in Lake Wellington, follows McLennan Straight and crosses Lake King before rounding Raymond Island and finishing in front of the picturesque town of Paynesville. Tony says the DM24 is a really sea-worthy boat, and they handle sea conditions better than a lot of the trailer sailers that do the Marlay Point Race.
“When it comes to handling the narrows, it’s very manoeuvrable. It points really well and tacks on a dime. We’ve never had problems in the straights, it’s only those no-wind conditions where the boats get carried into the trees by the tide that we worry about.
It’s the only night race multi’s can do. A lot of people like that challenge. It’s something different, to race at night. Every other race is a daytime race, and they’re relatively short. You’re racing around the marks and coming back in.
The Marlay Point is a real challenge. You sail at night, it can be a really long race, twelve hours or more. It is physically testing and you’ve got to know how to navigate properly. It is a challenge. People have to push themselves, and that’s the biggest different of the Marlay Point.
It’s also in relatively safe, protected waters. So if you’re contemplating doing a night race, but you don’t want to do it offshore or anywhere you’re at risk, this is the race for you. The Marlay Point is safe, with lots of boats and there’s always someone around to keep an eye on you.
The race varies enormously. There’ll be year after year of drifters, and then you’ll have that one with really strong winds. The year we smashed the record, it was blowing 15-20knt the whole race, and it was perfect sailing conditions. But that was a rarity.
I think it’s unique, and I hope it keeps going.”
For more information visit the Lake Wellington Yacht Club Facebook page.