Boys from the Bush Take to the Water

Adrian Staats and Justin Graham won the Encouragement Award in the Surf to City Yacht Race.
Adrian Staats and Justin Graham won the Encouragement Award in the Surf to City Yacht Race.

When Adrian Staats decided to enter his  26X Macgregor yacht, ‘Bright Eyes’, in the Surf to City Yacht Race on 1st February, his next decision was who to call on for a crew member.

Adrian’s neighbour Justin Graham, who had never been on a yacht before, and might seem like an unlikely choice but Adrian says he was the best crew member he could have asked for.

While it was Justin’s first time on a yacht, it was Adrian’s first race and the goal for both men was just to finish the race.

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“The other competitors were professional sailors with racing boats and mine is really a sporty looking family cruising boat.  We came 14th out of 16 so we were really happy,” said Adrian.

The race wasn’t without a few stressful moments for the pair.

“I ran through things with Justin beforehand and he just handled it.  He really came into his own when we got into trouble,” said Adrian.

“He kept his cool when we hit an embankment just on sunset and ran aground.  The race organisers asked if we wanted to pull out but we both said ‘hell, no!’”

“Then we lost steering in a two metre swell in Moreton Bay.  I was bear hugging the outboard to keep us going, and Justin really came into his own at that point, being a mechanic he just worked away to fix it.”

Adrian and Justin were buoyed by the support of other competitors who encouraged them and called out ‘Good on you, Bright Eyes’ as they finished.

The pair were surprised to receive an award at the presentations after the race.

‘Bright Eyes’ was given the Endurance Award for completing the race in 22 hours,  38 minutes and 13 seconds and overcoming adversity in their race.

Highlights of Adrian and Justin’s race can be viewed on Adrian’s YouTube channel

About Keer Moriarty 288 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.