Billy Merrington skippering his etchells (centre)

Member Spotlight – Billy Merrington

Our next Member is no stranger to ocean racing. Peter (Billy) Merrington is a 23-time Sydney Hobart competitor, boasting five Line Honours victories, one Overall win and what he’s labelled “countless missed opportunities!”. Having also competed in the 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race, Billy has sailed in some of the most remote parts of the world. More recently Billy finished 2nd Overall in the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart on TP52 Gweilo and can be seen out on the harbour Etchell sailing.

CYCA Member Since:

2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Winning Line Honours

2014 – I saw the light and transferred from my childhood club on Pittwater.

Favourite CYCA memory:

My favourite memory is all the Boxing day mornings, coming down to the club, ready to leave for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. I really love the atmosphere of race day. It’s crazy but the crowds add to the feeling of expectation for what lies ahead for the Hoey. Hopefully all the prep is done, so stow your gear, grab your last real coffee for 3 days and soak it up.

Proudest achievement on water:  

Two stand out here:

  1. Rounding Cape Horn in the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race after 2 weeks of the most extreme/scary/fun sailing ever… Dodging icebergs and snow squalls with some great mates. The actual Horn rounding was an amazing day, sunny, 25 knots downwind, spectacular view! A real milestone in my life.
  2. Winning line honours in 2011 Sydney Hobart Race as the underdogs on Investec Loyal. We had an epic battle with Wild Oats XI where the lead changed 4 times. We managed to hold them off in close quarters all the way from cape Raoul to the finish. The result was made all the better having our crew of long-time sailing friends share the proud moment.

Bucket-list event still to attend/enter:

I’ve been lucky enough to race most of the big offshore races round the world and tick them off. These days I just want sail in competitive boats with fun teams and in cool races. Having said that, the Transpac is definitely one race I really want to do again. It has the all the CORRECT parameters, wind direction, temperature and finish destination.

Best thing about the CYCA:

World Class facilities, awesome member comradery and access to the coolest races.

Favourite sailing book/movie and why:

Endurance (Sir Ernest Shackleton) – a highly inspirational true story of survival on the Ocean. Shackleton was a truly awesome leader who leads from the front and had the total respect of his crew. The crew faced the gravest situation imaginable, a sinking ship, in the most inhospitable place conceivable; the Antarctic and yet they do not give up. They trek through the Antarctic, undertake a dangerous ocean crossing in lifeboats and more to make it to safety.

Outside of sailing I…: Have a awesome job at the Port authority of NSW (Sydney) in Pilot boats and Marine Operations which means my life is pretty much tied to the harbour for work and play. Other than that I try to be a good husband and father, and surf with great enthusiasm… but average ability!

Advice to my younger self: Focus more on your goals and less on socialising! Stop wasting time!

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