Kerrie in F18 ‘Driver’ seat at Airlie Beach Race Week
Kerrie Driver is among the off-the-beach F18 multihull sailors competing at the Whitsunday Sailing Club’s 34th Airlie Beach Race Week this week and all of the class knows who the Sydneysider is.
Driver, who has raced in the F18 class for eight years now, owns the boat she named ‘Her Broomstick’. In fact, it’s her second F18 of that name. And on the back of the boat are the words ‘Driven by Bitch Dust’.
“This is the second F18 we’ve named My Broomstick. The first one, we were trying to decide a name. A couple of days later, I literally had a broomstick in my hand and my husband (Andrew) said, ‘Why don’t you call it My Broomstick?’ And that stuck. This boat has the same sail number of the last one too.
My husband is my crew. We call him the ‘Monkey up the Front’ and I’m the Pirate Princess. Everyone knows me by that name.
They wear pink everything on the boat, inclusive of wetsuits – and pink lippy for her only.
“It stands out. We can be seen if we capsize. And it makes a statement,” Driver says with a smile.
“Since I came back to racing after having kids (she has three: 26, 20 and 19 years old) all my boats and accessories have been pink.”
Driver says Andrew does cop a bit of flak from the blokes but doesn’t care.
“My husband has always raced the F18 with me. When I first met him, he was sailing with the president of the class. The first time he sailed with me, we were first to the top mark and ultimately finished the race third. His other skipper yelled out ‘You’re not keeping him’. But I did, I married him to keep him as my crew!”
The Kurnell Cat Club sailor says her enjoyment in the class comes from “Family. We race all over Australia and it’s just the people in the class. They’re lovely and would do anything to help you. If you have breakages, a rudder whatever, if anyone has a spare they will give it to you.”
When she gets the chance, Driver says, “I have pink tape that I stick to the back of other crews’ boats. If they take it off, I stick two bits on!”
Have they appreciated being here at Airlie Beach? “Yes, we’re all having a good time here. And there’s a lot to do after racing.”
The Kellyville sailor says she is next looking forward to the F18 Nationals to be held at their home club in January, when around 50 entries are expected.
Driver ends, “I’m a lunatic. I love what I do. My boss hates me cos I’m never at work!”
Today is the final day at ABRW where a record 178 boats are taking part.
Ross Chisholm, the WSC Event Chairman, says, “A good way to finish off the regatta today, with mainly south/south-easterlies of around 16 knots.”
Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
Full results and all information on Airlie Beach Race Week, please visit: www.abrw.com.au
By Di Pearson
Photos by Shirley Wodson