SuperFoiler Grand Prix action off the Gold Coast in February last year. PICTURE: Andrea Francolini
SuperFoiler Grand Prix action off the Gold Coast in February last year. PICTURE: Andrea Francolini

‘F1 of yachting’ hits rocks with debts of $1.5m

THE company that brought the 'F1 of yachting' to the Broadwater last year has called in the administrators leaving a cloud over the future of the event.

The action-packed hi-tech SuperFoiler Grand Prix made waves during its Gold Coast leg in February last year.

It was the brainchild of Bill MacCartney, ex-promoter of the late Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket and former boss of Australia's 18-foot skiff racing event.

During last year's series, which involved five legs between February and March, boats used hydrofoils that act as underwater aeroplane wings, pushing underneath the boat and enabling the vessel to take off and sit above the water.

SuperFoiler Grand Prix action off the Gold Coast in February last year. PICTURE: Andrea Francolini
SuperFoiler Grand Prix action off the Gold Coast in February last year. PICTURE: Andrea Francolini

Series CEO Bill MacCartney compared it to Formula One or motorcycle Grand Prix but on water and Mayor Tom Tate threw his support behind the event.

However, the company behind the event has gone into voluntary administration.

Administrators were appointed to Grand Prix Sailing Pty Ltd, associated with Bill MacCartney and son Jack MacCartney, in March.

A report by Simon Cathro, of Worrells, found the company had cash in the bank of $17,417.

It owed $89,020 to 12 secured creditors and $1.445 million to 13 unsecured creditors.

Unsecured creditors included Jack MacCartney (owed $28,500), Skiptan Pty Ltd ($390,700) and Woollahra Sailing Club ($45,374).

A creditors' meeting was held on Tuesday. The Bulletin has contacted Mr Cathro to seek comment on the outcome of that meeting.

The Euroflex team (front) Iain Jensen, Glenn Ashby (middle), and Nathan Outteridge compete in the SuperFoiler Grand Prix Gold Coast leg in February last year. PICTURE: Andrea Francolini
The Euroflex team (front) Iain Jensen, Glenn Ashby (middle), and Nathan Outteridge compete in the SuperFoiler Grand Prix Gold Coast leg in February last year. PICTURE: Andrea Francolini

The Gold Coast leg involved America's Cup stars - including Team New Zealand skipper and 2017 Cup champion Glenn Ashby - who formed winning team Euroflex.

Cr Tate said he was impressed with the racing, which involved collisions, sailors overboard and close-quarters duels between sleek, 26-foot carbon fibre craft, and said he would be seeking a long-term partnership with organisers.

Bill Macartney came up with the idea for SuperFoiler to take the exorbitant cost out of racing.

Team costs sat at $350,000 each compared to the tens of millions typically spent on America's Cup campaigns.

The power-to-weight ratio of the water-skimming SuperFoilers, with room for just three on board, was the highest for any wind-powered vessel.

Grand Prix Sailing was the original creator of the Grand Prix 18 foot skiff circuit televised throughout the 1990s.

Bill and Jack MacCartney spent $500,000 of their own money to bring the high-performance racing boats back for the first time since 1997.

Bill MacCartney has had a long involvement with the sailing industry, having run Grand Prix Sailing for 11 years in the 1980s and 1990s.