Owner, Ray Roberts and crew of the iconic US-built Peterson 50, Checkmate are looking forward to launching the vessel’s Australian racing career in the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta, which starts Tuesday 2 January.
Inclement conditions during delivery to Sydney from the Gold Coast resulted in damage that put the yacht, renamed Checkmate of Hollywood, out of this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
As Michael Spies, seasoned sailor and long-time friend of owner Ray Roberts, explained: “We were pretty devastated not to make the Sydney Hobart, but with the adverse weather during delivery, we just weren’t prepared in time.”
Instead, they prepped and sailed Ray’s FARR 55, Hollywood Boulevard, which finished 10th, and are now flying back from Hobart in time for New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour, then a quick scoot to Pittwater for the Race start on Tuesday.
“Checkmate is a sensational dual-purpose boat,” continued ‘Spiesy’. “She’s a proper yacht – nothing like the disposable boats we’ve been sailing for 30 or so years. We’ll watch the NYE fireworks on Sydney Harbour then get ready for the P2P.”
With her eye-catching gleaming timber hull, 50-foot Checkmate of Hollywood, with a sail number well-known to TV addicts of a certain age: 90210 (the Hollywood post code), is a 40-year-old IOR Doug Peterson design, built of Brazilian mahogany in San Diego by the illustrious Carl Eichenlaub, and updated in 2000 to make her a fast, competitive racing yacht.
In October 2017, Ray “Hollywood” Roberts bought the boat from the Orange County School of Sailing and Seamanship where she had given great service following her donation by the previous owner.
Roberts immediately sailed her to a win in her Class in the 53rd San Diego to Ensenada International Yacht Race.
Checkmatesailed from the US West Coast across the Pacific to Australia and cleared Customs at Southport Yacht Club at the end of November, before heading to The Boat Works on the Gold Coast for a thorough overhaul.