22 January 2024
The new owner of the impeccable Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40 Soda is Mark Turnbull OAM, who won gold in the 470 Class with Tom King at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Both Mark and his wife Joanna grew up in boating families, comfortable around yacht clubs and boats.
“My parents have sailed around the world and Jo’s parents have undertaken many ocean crossings in both sail and power boats. Probably the surprise was that we have skipped the stage of owning a yacht and gone directly into the power boat.”
Before deciding on the HC40, Mark undertook many months of research online and at boat shows. “We’d been looking at all the usual suspects but were attracted to either the more classic styled boats, or the other end of the spectrum being more radically modern like some of the Scandinavian dayboats. We had also considered getting a boat built bespoke for us.
“So, although I knew of the Whitehaven brand, it was not on the radar initially as their range of larger sports boats and flybridges were not what we were looking for. Then I saw a couple of articles and a video on the first Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40 (Tonic) and thought that this was the type of boat for us.”
What impressed Mark and Joanna the most were the classic lines and craftsmanship of the HC40. “I’ve definitely come to power boating from the sailing world and was greatly attracted to the more traditional lines of the Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40,” he said.
“The Harbour Classic had all of the classic design elements, wrapped up in a 43-foot package. So, it ticked the boxes of being beautiful to look at and having the performance and practicality of a new boat from a custom builder of the calibre of Whitehaven.
“We love the look and style of these classic dayboats, but to have a brand-new version with all the bells and whistles meant that we didn’t have to compromise and could make it our own.
“It’s the perfect dayboat that has the option of comfortably extending to overnights or longer. It hit the spot for us of being not too small and not too large – it was just right for us.
“When it came to our ideal design, it wasn’t about maximising the number of berths, top speed, or toys or to be just another white boat, but to maximise the pride of ownership, and part of this is the degree of customisation that Whitehaven offer from the very start to make this our boat.”
Taking cues from the first two HC40s, both in Sydney, Mark sought to “open up the boat even more. We opted for the galley-up version, maximising the fridge space and reducing some of the galley elements as most of the time it will be used as a dayboat,” he explained.
“We created an even greater connection between inside and out by changing the standard door and lift-up window to be full-width, bifold doors so it opens up completely. Given that its home will be in Melbourne, being able to close it up is important too!”
Mark and Jo took delivery of their custom-crafted HC40 in December, just in time to spend the long summer days on the water with family and friends.
The family has been enjoying time aboard Soda practically every second day since Christmas, exploring the Sorrento-Portsea area, and are looking forward to some overnight stays.
“We’ve had the boat for almost a month now and absolutely love it, and I don’t think we’re the only ones as it attracts plenty of interest and praise at the marina.
“Our two children love it (how could they not?) and we have it loaded up with all the toys for taking it out on the Mornington Peninsula over summer. It has definitely got the kids off their devices, and they’re turning into capable deckhands.”
The best response to Soda so far is Mark’s mum’s renewed enthusiasm for boating. “Mum is even talking about buying another boat, which is wonderful. “The other big plus and one that get compliments is the Seakeeper 3 gyro stabiliser,” Mark stated.
“It works like magic and is effectively silent. It can actually run off battery alone. And you don’t notice it until you look across at other boats anchored nearby and they’re all reaching to save their drinks when a wave comes!”
Pride of ownership was a key part of the brief and Mark has achieved that in droves! “Possibly because it’s still so new, I tend to stand on the dock looking back at it and also hosing it down longer than normal. To be honest, I don’t think that will change either.”
During 2024, plans are to berth Soda between Sandringham Yacht Club and Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron, taking time to enjoy Port Phillip Bay and its innumerable anchorages.
“In future years, we’re planning to cruise to some of the Bass Strait islands, Wilsons Promontory, Tasmania, Gippsland Lakes and then, in a few years’ time, head up to Sydney to explore Pittwater for a winter, but that’s down the track.
“We’re just enjoying these first few months as a family, gaining confidence and getting to know all the ins and outs of our beautiful boat.”