True calling

Marcus Blackmore is an unrepentant sailing and boating fanatic. With various nautical-related ventures to keep him active and engaged, his interest never wanes.

Written by Di Pearson

02 October 2018


The Blackmores chief’s most recent ‘objet de carbon’ is a TP52 he debuted at Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour Regatta (SHR) in March, where the latest in the Hooligan line won every race. On the final day, after a 24-knot burst down the harbour, Blackmore commented: “I just love sailing this boat. It’s the best monohull class in the world, and it’s evolved over time.

“I had a TP52 before. It was good, but this one’s better. I approached the family who owned it in Argentina, and I ended up buying it,” he says of the 2017 TP52 Super Series winner, a Botin 2015 design launched as Azzurra.

“This one’s easier to steer than the last boat. It doesn’t dig the bow in like the other one did. We’ve got a good boat, no doubt about that.”

While a good boat is one thing, Blackmore says the right crew is instrumental. “I remember Mike Fletcher telling me once, ‘He who makes the least mistakes wins.’


Blackmore is also a dominant force with his MC8 one-design (Hooligan), Ammonite, the 24.72 metre Southern Wind sloop he won January’s Millennium Cup in Auckland with, and a Dragon.

“I’ll keep on with the MC38 – they’re very good racing. You get to the top mark and there are two or three others who reckon they’re going around with you,” he says, going on to describe just how close it can be after a dust-up with Neville Crichton’s Maserati left Hooligan on the sidelines.

“One thing about one-design racing is you learn more. I’ve sailed Etchells and Dragons and things – you’ve missed the start, you’re down the back of the fleet, and all of a sudden you’re back together again. It’s exhilarating. You’re also sailing against people whose company you enjoy.”

Blackmore and his wife Caroline recently took a trip to Tonga to catch up with fellow sailor Don McIntyre and swim with humpback whales.

“Don’s a mad bastard – he calls himself an adventurer,” Blackmore says with his usual candour.

McIntyre and former wife Margie are, in fact, award-winning adventurers. Among their exploits are a year in Antarctica in a box the size of a bathroom, and run-ins with terrorists while treasure hunting in the Philippines.

“I’ve always followed Don’s exploits and have given him money from time to time to help with them,” comments Blackmore.

“There are a number of challenges for people in the South Pacific. They are dependent on fishing, for example, to live. And those wonderful old traditions, like sailing around in those cats before we even thought about it, are becoming lost in Tonga. Don has taken it on himself to preserve those traditions.

Don also obtained an exemption (until he is licensed) for them to swim with the whales, which Blackmore describes as, “One of the greatest things I’ve done in my life. We went on his Lagoon 45, which he is planning to use for an income stream to build the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club (RNYC) and teach the youth traditional vaka sailing.

“He’s also built a marine discovery centre, which I officially opened. It’s not finished, but I know Don well and it will get finished. It’s all so altruistic, so I contributed to the building of the club, and Caroline and I have been made first members.

“It will be a wonderful place for yachties and cruisers to visit. It’s a very welcoming place. Right now, the club is just a flagpole, a cannon, and a fantastic location on the beach,” Blackmore says, adding McIntyre’s next venture is the solo Golden Globe Race, of which he is founder and race chairman.


  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement