Out of his comfort zone
THE last time Kingaroy's Ross "Mac" McIntosh was on a yacht, he was as a kid with his grandfather.
The last time he was on a boat, it was a navy vessel.
But this weekend, Ross is on the Spirit of Mateship, a 60ft yacht with 12 crew, competing against 180 yachts in the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
"I'm the mast man and work with the sails. It is hard work, but it is good work," he said. "Everyone plays their part.
"It is really intense while you are racing, but there is a really cool atmosphere."
Yesterday, they were racing 15 nautical miles around the island, before the race week ends with two days of course racing.
Spirit of Mateship was equal first in its division, with eight yachts competing.
McIntosh said competitive sailing was something he'd never experienced before.
"It is unreal. I would be recommending it to everyone," he said. "I was absolutely terrified coming out here, coming out of my comfort zone. I would have preferred to be in the shed on my property." But that all changed as soon as he arrived for the week-long race meeting. "Wild Oats is here. I am seeing boats that I have only ever seen on television," McIntosh said.
Spirit of Mateship is part of the Mates 4 Mates program which provides services, welfare and treatment programs to help rehabilitate wounded, injured and ill current and former Australian Defence Force personnel and their families.
McIntosh is a veteran who was medically discharged after 15 years in the army that included stints in Iraq, East Timor and Egypt.
"I have already got permission to buy myself a small yacht, so BP Dam, here I come," he said.
"I think BP will do me," he quipped.