Sailing Legend Backs Yanmar
In sailing circles, Mooloolaba based yachtsman Bob “Robbo” Robertson, is revered in the sport of offshore sailing. Early on in his sailing career, Bob Robertson “fell in love” with the Yanmar brand and ever since has been a loyal Yanmar advocate.
At the gentle age of 73 and after 40 years of competitive blue water racing, Bob officially retired from racing at the end of the 2012 Sydney to Hobart. His career is one which includes the ownership of some twenty yachts, 75% of which were Yanmar powered.
His career also included the halcyon years of Australian boat manufacturing when he owned and operated a commercial shipyard. This business built the Robertson 950, along with the Farr 37 and Farr 40.
“My first Yanmar exposure was in 1983 when I had a boat built by McConaghy Yachts,” said Bob Robertson.
“It was fitted with a 3GM30 Yanmar engine and I just fell in love with the brand straight away. That engine was so good. “Ever since I’ve used Yanmar whenever possible for my personal boats and in my production yacht building business.”
The Robertson 950 was a hugely successful boat. It won the ABIA Australian Sailboat of the Year award in 1991. According to Bob Robertson, the Australian designed hull was the perfect boat for local racing. The last one to be built at Bob Robertson’s factory was for the master himself; Bob named her Eureka and had Yanmar 4JH3 engine installed.
This boat was specifically built for the Sydney to Hobart, although Bob Robertson rates the Sydney to Mooloolaba race as being tougher and requiring a lot more sailing skill to win.
Today Eureka is sailing as a charter boat in the Whitsundays, having been renamed Eureka II. The Yanmar 4JH3 is still going strong some 13 years later and has logged an “astronomical” number of hours according to Bob Robertson.
At the time of his retirement, Bob Robertson owned and was skippering his own Beneteau First 40, called lunchtime Legend. True to his love of the Yanmar brand, this boat is fitted with a Yanmar 3JH3 40hp Saildrive engine, complete with Gori prop.
“Through my boat building life from 1987 to 2000 and then my own racing yachts across 40 years, I’ve enjoyed great success with Yanmar,” Bob Robertson said.
“We always experienced a fantastic relationship with the Power Equipment people in Brisbane. Their support was the very best that anyone could ask for.”
In the early years of his sailing, the only Yanmar diesel engine available for sailing was a single cylinder model. They were too small for the bigger boats so yachties were forced to use competitive brands.
“When the larger multi-cylinder Yanmar engines became available, we readily appreciated the strength of the Yanmar brand. We’d been using the alternative brands which just didn’t compare with the new Yanmar engines. We’ve been loyal to Yanmar ever since.”
Postscript: As proof that sailing is absolutely entrenched in his psyche, Bob Robertson has come out of his short retirement. Bob saw an ad for the very first Robertson 950 that he built. So he bought the boat with a view to sailing the Sydney to Hobart, at least one more time!