Scooter Hinton, a Yamba sailor, loves all ocean-going craft and the challenges which come with the sport.
Scooter Hinton, a Yamba sailor, loves all ocean-going craft and the challenges which come with the sport.

Scooter loves wind in the sails

By MAX GODBEE

SCOTT (Scooter) Hinton has proved his capabilities in a variety of sports and liked them all but undoubtedly sailing has always been his first love.

From birth he was introduced to sailing and has competed in a multitude of craft, from the one-man wind surfers to the maxi yachts. On top of that he has sailed in two Sydney to Hobart Yacht Classics, been a sail designer, sailmaker and often helmsman on many of the boats.

There would be few if any who have competed in so many types of sailing craft.

Scooter, for that is the nickname he brought to Yamba with him back in 1993, starting up in business as Scooter Sails and Shades at the Yamba Boat Harbour Marina in the ever popular seaside resort.

His vast knowledge of boats, of sails and sailing, have proven a boon to Clarence River boat users and the legion of sailors who visit Yamba.

Scooter already had a fair-sized list of state and national titles, state, national and international representative honours and seemingly never-ending love for the sport, as well as for the work he does for and around boats when he made Yamba his working base.

While sailing is his true passion, he loves all aspects of work on yachts, whether it be new sails or repairs to rigging and covers.

Scooter has established himself as a solid citizen of Yamba and valued member of the Port of Yamba Yacht Club. He is willing to help train men and women in the art of sailing in his professional manner, and keen to compete for and with the club.

Although christened Scott William Hinton by his parents David and Doreen Hinton, he has been known as Scooter Hinton for most of his life and prefers that name.

He first saw the light of day at Mona Vale Hospital in March 1967.

It was not long before he was introduced into the marine environment by his father in his boat-building and repairs workshop called Santana Yachts.

Santana Yachts built a variety of sailing craft, from the small Manly juniors up to nine-metre yachts.

Scooter's mother was involved in the marine industry as part-owner and manager of Santana Yachts.

David sailed in Pittwater races and helped start the twilight racing program.

He has also been secretary of the Sydney Royal Motor Yacht Club based in Pittwater, Sydney, and twice commodore.

Schooling for Scooter started at Cromer Primary and later Cromer High School, where he gained the School Certificate in Year 10.

In sport he represented both primary and high schools in swimming and athletics and also at Cromer High was consistently a member of the school's sailing team involving flying 11s and Manly juniors.

Scooter not only represented Cromer High but also Combined NSW Schools winning dual state and national schools' titles in flying 11s in both 1982 and 1983.

While still at school in the 1980s Scooter was chosen in one of the two boats to represent NSW at the Australian Youth Sailing Championships in Adelaide, finishing second overall from the nine heats.

While still at high school Scooter was employed by the firm of Gaastra Sails at Cromer, where his main task was making wind surfer sails.

After good placings in the international 420 class in NSW and Australian racing he was named in the Australian team for the world championships in Italy with racing off the East Coast in the Aegean sea.

"It was a great venue and besides the thrill of competition it was always exciting each morning of the pre-world and the Moove A World Championships to see two Yugoslav destroyers come over the horizon to be part of the scene and act as monitors of the racing," Scooter said.

After completion of the nine heats of the pre-world racing, Scooter had his boat Thunder Down Under overall 19th on points from the big field of 149.

He did even better in the championships, part of the Moove A Regatta, taking 10th placing, again from the fleet of 149.

In 1986 Scooter switched to small keel boats, the J24s, and in his first season won the NSW championship on the off-Pittwater course.

In 1987 he again did well beating all contenders in the Port Jackson (Sydney) championships.

After taking the bronze medal at the 1988 national titles sailed on the Manly Circle off Sydney Heads, Scooter finished equal fourth in the world championship but was relegated to fifth placing on the resultant countback.

That was followed by two seasons of offshore racing in the Elliott 10.5m, High Anxiety, as helmsman and main sheet trimmer to win numerous races including the annual Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.

Taking the boat to Queensland Scooter won what is known as The Score Series at Mooloolaba.

Also in High Anxiety with a crew of seven, he successfully contested the Sail For Cancer charity regatta on Sydney Harbour, and won the Hamilton Island Race Week Performance Handicap in 1991. Then there was the rocket 40 boat he sailed for a while, claiming it was the fastest monohull of its type in Australia, saying even the pocket maxis could not keep up with her.

Once more showing his versatility he switched to farr 37 class yachts, sailing Humming Bird to win the Australian championship, as well as winning the prestigious Sydney to Mooloolaba Classic.

Adding to his sailing repertoire Scooter competed in what is known as a boat speed 23, an five-metre skiff lengthened to 23 feet. The craft was owned by Bill Buckle and named Buckle Up.

Scooter sailed in off-shore events in Sydney as a member of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, winning the number one division and then took the boat to Melbourne to contest the Marley Point Overnight Race on Lake Wellington.

He won the line and handicap honours, to confound 'The Mexicans'.

The next year, 1993, he moved north to make Yamba his home port.

"I built my own boat jointly with John Rowe, a 6.7m ultra sonata class yacht, at the Yamba Marina and called it Scooter Sails after my business," Scooter said.

"That name Scooter Sails has often been misconstrued by locals and visitors to our workshop and occasionally over the years I have had plenty of inquiries about motor scooters."

Scooter took his boat south to the Marley Point race and again won the overnight race with handicap honours, and then headed to Queensland to win the Australian Trailer/Sailer title at Moreton Bay.

Scooter Sails also finished second in a NSW championships and would have won had not another boat hit the back of his boat dislodging the rudder so that the craft had to be steered by sail to the line.

Scooter said he had enjoyed his experiences with the Port of Yamba Yacht Club, in particular the times he sailed with Peter Williams in his ocean yacht Paycheck.

He especially enjoyed the Brisbane to Noumea race in 1995 in which Paycheck scored a win which earned Williams a Daily Examiner a Sports Star of the Week Award.

Scooter on his own account has twice won Daily Examiner awards for sailing, the first in 1995 and then again in 1997.

"Tragically Peter Williams, a very fine man, died in 2003 and I greatly miss him as he was an inspiration to sail with," Scooter said.

It was also in the 1990s that Scooter became involved in sports boats and sailed a fast racer named Cruise Missile which was owned and designed by well-known sailing identity Alan Carwardine.

Scooter had instant success, winning the City to Surf Race in Brisbane first up. He also sailed a four-metre skiff called Big Foot to win the National title in 1997, and won numerous class sections of the annual Bridge to Bridge race on the Clarence in Scooter Sails, Fresh Undies and Cruise Missile.

Scooter was helmsman of Cruise Missile, taking third place in the Australian championships on Lake Macquarie and then broke three race records, in the Sydney to Southport yacht race in a Mum 30, finishing in just 38 hours.

Scooter has twice been part of one of the world's great yacht races, The Sydney to Hobart.

The first was in an 26-metre maxi called Marchioness, in 1987, when Scooter was one of four helmsmen and also the sail trimmer and then again last December in the Whitbread racer Nokia, a previous Hobart line honours winner. With belligerent weather Scooter was one of three helmsmen used in one-hour shifts at the wheel.

"Even that one hour at a time was extremely testing and each of us was glad to be relieved for the next two hours," Scooter said.

Like so many of the yachts last year Nokia was battered, with severe damage to the boat and gear and limped to the finish. Lucky to survive, Nokia was still able to take seventh place across the line at Hobart's Constitution Dock.

Scooter has now teamed with well-known Australian helmsman and boat owner, Ray Roberts. They have not long come back from Kosamui, Thailand, where they won the annual regatta.

Prior to that they had competed at Hamilton Island, racing a new DK46 named Hollywood Boulevarde and they are now racing a farr 40 called Quantum Racing, which competed at Port Stephens two weeks ago. They were winning the regatta until the last two races, when their boat was holed by a competing craft. They won the protest, but ended up second overall.

Scooter lives with partner Kirsten, a valuable member in the working of Scooter Sails, and they have a lively five-months-old son, who they have called Ochen (pronounced Ocean). Kirsten is a former Gold Coast girl and sails, and at times steers, with Scooter in the boat Scooter Sails.

Future plans for Scooter show that he is not prepared to slow down and he has a busy 2005 end of season and early 2006 program already planned, with a series of races in Asia and farr 40 racing in Australia, followed by the world championships at New Port, Rhode Island in the US.

Scooter, along with Ray Roberts, will also be racing a trans pack 52 for the world championships in Miami Florida, in March.

Before the USA racing it seems more than likely he will be sailing his third Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on Hollywood Boulevarde.



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