Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum and coke
By TROY WHITE and SAIL-WORLD TEAM
A PRE-RACE bet was struck between the Commodore of Coffs Harbour Yacht Club Craig Chisholm sailing on Mistress Again and Paul Morton, a crew member on board Harbour Design Homes B-52 as to who would be the first to cross the finish line in the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.
A jug of rum and coke was decided upon as the prize for the boat that reached Coffs first.
The only stipulation was that the smaller, slower boat Mistress Again, had to be given an extra four hours and 35 minutes to get there, her handicap adjusting factor.
At the half way mark in the race it looked certain that the crew of Mistress Again were going to win the bet with less than two hours separating the competing yachts, but as luck would have it things quite often change without warning.
Mistress Again unfortunately had to retire from the race due to gear problems, being forced to drop the sails and motor towards the finish line, some 60 miles away.
They motored from Korogoro Point to Smokey Cape, ran out of diesel, then having effected repairs, sailed on.
They were out of the race, but figured the consolation prize, the jug of rum, was still up for the taking.
In the process they (or so they thought) went on to win the bet by crossing the finish line in four hours and 30 minutes - five minutes within the agreed time frame.
As sailors know, a jug of rum and coke is a serious bet, and Harbour Design Homes B-52 decided to challenge that outcome.
The point of conjecture was that the original bet did not stipulate that the whole distance had to be sailed.
To settle the matter, Harbour Design Homes B-52 skipper Steven Brown called upon their sponsor law firm Fishburn, Watson and O'Brien, with Mistress Again engaging their sponsor law firm, the MBT Group. (Counsel had in fact sailed the race on the respective boats.).
Proceedings took place in the bar of the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, the hearing taking some hours, but everyone seemed to be having fun.
It was decided that it was necessary to sail the course to win, as Harbour Design Homes B-52 had.
And so the Mistress Again crew supplied the jug of rum and coke, which was shared among both crews.
There needs to be more legal hearings like this.