Barry Cuneo, skipper of the 54ft Envy Scooters vessel which was first across the line in the Brisbane to Keppel race.
Barry Cuneo, skipper of the 54ft Envy Scooters vessel which was first across the line in the Brisbane to Keppel race.

‘Perfection’: Winning yacht crew hopes to inspire sailors

THE commodore of the first boat over the line for the Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race at the weekend hopes his crew’s excellence will inspire the next generation of sailors.

Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Commodore Barry Cuneo led the TP52-class Envy Scooters from Moreton Bay to Yeppoon in just under 23 hours.

“We’ve got a pretty hot crew,” Mr Cuneo said.

“It’s as good a crew as I could possibly hope for. To me it’s perfection the way they do things.”

Mr Cuneo, who was thrown into a boat at four years old – “I had no choice and loved every minute of it,” he said – has for the past decade dedicated himself to youth development.

He considers bringing people into sailing the most important part of his work.

“That drives me most of all,” Mr Cuneo said.

“To make sure we can pass onto the youth good quality sailing skills and understanding the love of sailing.

“One of the ways we do that is through exhibiting excellence on this boat.

“We bring some youth in amongst the crew to be mentored and to see how it’s done at the top level.”

Only Queensland vessels sailed in the recent Keppel race. Of the 18 boats that took part, 16 finished and two retired – one with a lost rudder and another because of a whale collision.

The Envy Scooters travelled about 679km from 11am on Friday to 9.49am on Saturday, claiming first place.

The Envy Scooters crew.
The Envy Scooters crew.

Mr Cuneo said the weather conditions were perfect throughout the journey, and the crew was eager to exercise its sea legs after being cooped up for several months.

“The weather conditions were as good as you can possibly get,” Mr Cuneo said. “The wind was fantastic: 15 to 25 knots south-easterly. No rain, and a good challenge.

“It’s the first race in Australia offshore since the whole COVID thing began, so it was a great opportunity for everyone to blow off some steam after not being able to go for a sail.

“But it showed that there was an extra amount of enthusiasm by everyone to make sure they enjoyed it, and we appreciate it and feel fortunate that we’re able to do this because we don’t know when the next one’s going to be because of what’s happening down south.”

Despite that uncertainty about coming races, the Envy Scooters crew is set on staying at its best.

“No one knows what’s happening but we’re full steam ahead planning and training and preparing for whatever happens,” Mr Cuneo said.

“That’s the only way you can deal with life at the moment.

“We keep doing what we can and if it changes we just go to plan B, whatever that might be.”



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