Six in a row

The formidable AUS332 Mack One crew of Ben Franklin, Alan Moffat and Josh Franklin have claimed a sixth straight VX One national title at Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

Photography by SailorGirlHQ

23 January 2024


AUS332 Mack One crew clinched the win by four points over AUS330 Pipeline Drillers, skippered by Brett Whitbread, after racing was abandoned on the final day due to high winds with gusts over 30 knots.

“You’ve got to have a good crew, a really good crew,” Ben Franklin revealed when asked what the secret was to Mack One’s success.

“It’s a bit of a surprise each year. We’ve had pretty close competition with other Queensland rivalries since we started, especially Brett Whitbread but it’s cool to see that we can keep edging out in front,” he finished.

The racing was competitive across the 10-race series, with top 10 finishes by boats all the way through the fleet. It was consistency that paid at the end, with the top five places carrying results no higher than seventh.


As mentioned by Franklin, Whitbread was on form, and was the boat that could have had a crack at taking the title from Mack One.

“How good was it to get different conditions every day, that’s the best thing,” said Whitbread of the conditions as he claimed runner-up with his crew, Danny Fuller and Brayden Daunt.

“The Melbourne guys, they have got such a good culture going on down here, they put on a great regatta. Hats off, they really turned it on for the racing, and their hospitality, I can’t speak highly enough, well done,” he complimented.

Rounding out the podium was AUS359 Gidget, skippered by Dave Alexander, with Max Sturman (“Bob”) and Max Yoshida (“Yoshi”), crew that the South Australian had not sailed with for long, but they still sailed exceptionally well to take third overall.

“To the other competitors, great regatta. Mack One boys, great, fantastic, and everyone, it was a good regatta,” said Alexander.

The first Master skipper was Peter Conde, LateShift AUS243, the first female was Sophie Whitmore also from LateShift AUS243, finishing fourth overall. The Beast 5, AUS352 skippered by 17-year-old Jordan Barney was the Junior Helm winner.

With brother Hayden Barney and Libby Kirby, the youthful team were sixth overall with an average age of 19. Barney paid tribute to the newest Life Member of the class, Michael James, for his support in owning their boat, and funding their campaign. A huge personal effort to keep the class moving forward.

The strong performance of boats throughout the fleet shows the depth developing in the class in Australia. VX One Australia Class President Greg Clarke said it’s exciting to see the growth.

“It’s exciting times for the VX One in Australia. We have more boats and more people sailing them all the time, and fleets developing in new places,” Clarke said.

“Coming to Melbourne has been brilliant, the hospitality of Royal Brighton Yacht Club has been fantastic. We are a great travelling class and it’s a lot of fun to show off these boats around Australia. We can’t wait for the year ahead, culminating with our next Nationals at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Pittwater next year.”

A massive thanks to the Royal Brighton Yacht Club for hosting the event, Kevin Wilson acting as Race Officer, with his brother Ross Wilson as deputy with a fantastic team of volunteers, as well as all of the sponsors and supporters.

The next event on the VX One calendar is the Victorian State Championship in February, followed by the NSW Championship in March and the annual Winter Nationals from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in June.

Full results

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