‘What do you think we should call the boat?’ "Scallywag", Suggested his 5 year old daughter

He may live overseas, but Scallywag owner Seng Huang Lee grew up watching the Rolex Sydney to Hobart from near the start line and wants to continue building the legacy set by his boat’s previous owner, Syd Fischer.

In May, Lee purchased Ragamuffin 100, as it was named then, which finished second across the line in last year’s race and third in 2014.

“With Syd’s history in the sport, we’d love to be able to carry on that legacy that he has set with Ragamuffin,” Lee said.

Recent record-setting efforts in the Hong Kong to Hainan and Round New Caledonia races suggest Scallywag will be a threat to fellow supermaxi and eight-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI this year.

Malaysian-born Lee is based in Hong Kong but was raised and educated in Sydney’s eastern suburbs close to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, where the majority of Sydney-Hobart boats are berthed before the race.

“I grew up around the corner in Elizabeth Bay, we used to watch the start every year on Boxing Day,” Lee said. “We’ve always wanted be part of it and this was a great opportunity. The right boat came along and the right crew came along and so we decided to give it a go.

“The boat is in the best shape it’s ever been. We’ve made good modifications, we’ve learnt from Ragamuffin’s experience from last year, so we’re very excited about the coming race.”

Scallywag’s skipper, David Witt, one of several Ragamuffin 100 stalwarts retained by Lee, also believes the boat is more competitive this year.

“With the injection of the new owner, with his enthusiasm and his funds, we’ve been able to get it to where we thought it could get to, so we’re probably in the best shape we’ve ever been,” Witt said.

“If we can manage to win the Hobart race it will be fantastic for the boys and fantastic for the new owner, but it will also have a place in my heart for Syd to help us get there as well.

“I think it will be strange for everyone to be in a Hobart race without Syd, it will certainly be strange for myself and a lot of boys who have done a lot of miles with Syd over the last five or six years.”

The names Scallywag and Ragamuffin are not dissimilar in their meaning but that’s a coincidence according to Lee.

“I actually have a smaller boat called Scallywag and the name came from my then five-year-old daughter, who suggested this name when I asked her, ‘What do you think we should call the boat?’” he said.

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Michael Chittenden

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