Stories

A champion sailor - Robert Greenhalgh and his Espresso 40, ‘Akira’

‘Fast’ is in Robert Greenhalgh’s veins. His love of racing has taken him to incredible highs both on the water and in his career. An 18ft skiff world champion and winner of the Volvo Open 70, Robert is ready for a new chapter and has made the move from sail to power.

Thanks to Micah Lane and Flagstaff Marine, Robert is now the proud owner of the beautiful Espresso 40 day cruiser ‘Akira’ and he is excited to share his love of the water with others.

From a young sailor to a born winner

From a young sailor to a born winner

Photo: Ugo Fonolla / MAPFRE / Volvo Ocean Race

Robert’s love for the water started with his parents’ passion for sailing.

One day, Robert decided it was time for him to take the next step.

“Sometimes you’ll hear about an opportunity and try to position yourself to be picked or get in contact with people. Sailing is one of these small industries, everyone knows each other and it’s a matter of talking to the right people.”

Not only did Robert find the right circles, but he quickly discovered that his love for sailing evolved into a thrill for speed.

“My main role is performance. Keeping the boat fast, trimming and driving. That’s what I bring. My focus is just keeping the boat as fast as possible. I’m the watch captain, is what we call it.”

Riding the storm

Riding the storm

Photo: Sailing Shots by María Muiña / MAPFRE

While others mostly run from storms, Robert chases them. And he’s proven over the years what a born winner he is.

Robert has raced the Volvo Open 70 numerous times. It’s the ultimate proving ground for legends such as Robert.

In 2005-2006, he went on to win the Volvo Ocean Race by a comfortable margin with ABN AMRO ONE.

He’s also raced in the Volvo Ocean Race with ‘Puma’ for the Puma Ocean Racing Team in 2008–09, ‘Azzam’ for Abu Dhabi in 2011–12, and on ‘Mapfre’ in 2014–15.

“People always say, ‘Oh mate, it sounds amazing!’ But the reality is you are often in the Southern Ocean with very little sleep, in the freezing cold and sleeping in a damp bunk.”

With experience and courage under his belt, Robert has faced the world’s toughest waters on a round-the-clock ocean marathon. It’s a feeling like no other – a relentless pursuit of victory.

The search and chase

The search and chase

Photo: SailingShots by María Muiña / MAPFRE

Fast forward to some years later, Robert started looking for a new motorboat. Robert and his wife were moving to Sydney and they wanted the right boat for their lifestyle.

“I do enough sailing, so I didn’t want another sailing boat. I was coming to Sydney to live and thought, ‘Right, I definitely want a motorboat.’

“Living in Sydney, you don’t have much of a backyard. Your backyard’s the harbour, so sailing is what it’s all about.”

At first, the search was less fruitful than Robert anticipated. He searched far and wide, yet found no results. He began looking in New Zealand and found a few boats that piqued his interest.

He quickly contacted his friends for their opinion and to share the news.

“I said, ‘What do you think of these boats? I’m looking at boats in New Zealand. What do you think of shipping it in?’ And my mate said, ‘Why are you looking in New Zealand?’ And then he sent me the details of two boats from Sydney. I thought, well that’s interesting.”

Signed, sailed, delivered

Signed, sailed, delivered

Photo: My Sydney Charter

It was then that Robert was introduced not only to Flagstaff Marine but the perfect motorboat he was searching for.

“I was busy competing around the world, so it wasn’t that easy finding time to check out the boats. But when I got to Melbourne for a stopover, I flew up to Sydney and viewed both of the boats in between Christmas and New Year.

I spoke to Micah from Flagstaff. He’s very experienced in the market. He quickly understood what I was after and was able to send me a couple of boats which he knew would suit me. And you know, he was right; one was perfect.

Rather than making me sift through hundreds of things I didn’t want, he got me to the source of my problem straight away, instead of scratching around the outside.”

The perfect boat for a new chapter

The perfect boat for a new chapter

Photo: My Sydney Charter

Robert loves ‘Akira’, his prized Espresso 40. Not only does he appreciate its classic, modern look, but it was the perfect choice for his new side hustle – chartering.

“It’s a very practical boat. It’s a nice size, it’s got two cabins so you can have guests and the kids on board. It’s a very comfortable living.

I’ve always had this dream of doing a bit of charter. I don’t see myself giving up professional sailing, but it helps with some of the costs. Now I’m a fully certified charter boat captain, so I do around 10 to 20 charters per year.”

Robert’s charters are available at My Sydney Charter. He offers charters from two to 10 hours across Sydney Harbour. It’s a perfect opportunity for the family to relax, have a BBQ, swim and enjoy the beautiful water.

Happy under the sun

Happy under the sun

Photo: Ugo Fonolla / MAPFRE / Volvo Ocean Race

When he’s not busy chasing dangerous waters or fighting for the finish line, Robert and his wife love spending time on the water.

“We go fishing, hang out, go swimming and just relax. Being on the water is the perfect way to relax.”

They enjoy sailing around Pittwater, Sydney Harbour and, when the weather is warm enough, they also like to go around Shelley Beach…

… and maybe even spot some sharks joining in on the fun!

Photo: SailingShots by María Muiña / MAPFRE

Charter ownership is a way to turn your dream of becoming a boat owner one day… into a reality today. Charter ownership allows you to invest in your lifestyle now and start making precious new memories with your family and friends immediately. Find out more.

Flagstaff Marine is Australia’s leading boat brokerage. If you are interested in buying a boat or selling your own anywhere in Australia or internationally, we can help. Contact us to find out more.

Akira offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy Sydney Harbour in luxury at your own pace, with the intention of tailoring the charter to your requirements. Visit My Sydney Charter for more information.

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