John McConaghy at the helm of his yacht Second Time Around during the offshore racing series off Coffs Harbour last week.
John McConaghy at the helm of his yacht Second Time Around during the offshore racing series off Coffs Harbour last week.

McConaghy unwinds on Coffs holiday

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

SPENDING your professional time building and maintaining spectacular super maxi's is a high pressure job, especially in the lead-up to a Sydney to Hobart race.

As one of the most widely known yacht builders in the world, John McConaghy couldn't think of a better way to unwind than to sail up the coast to Coffs Harbour with his friends.

"We treat it like a holiday, the whole crew bring up their wives and family and we all stay at the Nautilus," the founder of the famous McConaghy boats said yesterday.

We've been doing the Coffs Harbour race for 10 years now and we really enjoy doing it."

In the lead-up to this year's ocean classic to Hobart, McConaghy was busy finishing work on Wild Oats XI and Alfa Romeo which went on to complete the quinella in the race for line honours.

Some maintenance work was also required on the old Wild Oats as well as others that have come from the building shed in Mona Vale.

"We were really busy there but it was great to see the boats go well," he said reflecting on the achievements of his two latest maxi's.

"There were a couple things on both of them that needed refining before the start of the big race but luckily there was nothing mechanically wrong with them.

"Coming to Coffs Harbour is a great way to get away from it all as there's a lot of pressure at this time of the year and I don't like sailing on the race boats."

McConaghy has been sailing on board his own boat Second Time Around which he built 10 years ago.

Prior to the start of construction, the 58 year-old had an interesting job specification that he was forced to contend with.

His berth at home only had a six foot draft so it needed a lifting keel and twin rudders.

He had sails for IOR 50's everywhere so she was built under an IOR 50 dimensioned rig.

Having been in the game for 40 years, the world-class builder is happy to start taking a back seat in the running of the company.

"I'm starting to slow up now and there's two younger guys running the show," he explained.

"John Morris and Mark Evans do a fantastic job. They've been with me probably for 10 years and they'll eventually take it over."

That doesn't mean that McConaghy will be lost to the business forever though.

"I probably won't give it away completely, I've got no plans to leave," he added.

"I couldn't just stop as I enjoy the interaction with the people I work with as well as the customers.

"I'd just like to be not as full on and share the responsibilty around."

Whether he's in the construction game or not, McConaghy is always likely to participate in the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour.

"The crew has been together forever," he finished.

"I think I enjoy the camraderie just as much as the sailing."



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