Clean Sweep is an Elliot 780 sailing out in Port Stephens Yacht Club in NSW, Australia.

Skippered by experienced sailor Steve Liney, Clean Sweep competed in the 2018 Sail Port Stephens as well as PSYC Autumn Wednesday Series for which they were the 2018 Series winner. They also do regular weekend and Wednesday racing.

Our team spoke to Steve to find out a bit more about Clean Sweep, his crew and their program. Here’s what her said…

Tell me about Clean Sweep:
Clean Sweep is an Elliott 780. It was built in 1989 and I believe it was the first one out of the mold.
 bought the boat in October 2017 and got straight into fixing up some of the things that had either worn out or were just plain neglected. The boat had been sitting on a mooring for over a year with the keel down. I picked up the boat and delivered it straight to a boatyard to get the keel faired and painted. In the time the keel was out of the boat, I patched and painted some dings in the sides, removed the old antifouling, replaced a heap of running gear and bought a new mainsail (and put some sponsorship on it).

I renamed the boat ‘Clean Sweep’ to fit the sponsorship by our business, Baylife Services which carries out commercial and domestic cleaning, and maintenance in the Port Stephens area.

What is your current and planned sailing program?
I currently do Wednesday afternoons and Saturday racing with the Port Stephens Yacht Club. My first regatta with the boat was Sail Port Stephens and, not only is it a great location, but it’s a great event held over a whole week. I will be at the next Sail Port Stephens, and I intend to enter the Heaven Can Wait regatta at Lake Macquarie in March.


Tell me a bit about some of your previous races and results…
I managed to win the 2018 Autumn Wednesday afternoon series, which was the first full series I competed in after purchasing the boat. 

I have had a bit of a hiatus from sailing because of work commitments, but in my younger days I learned to sail with my Dad in a Heron on Narrabeen Lake in Sydney.  

I sailed a Cherub at the MHYC when I was in high school and later at the same club, I sailed 505s winning the 1996/7 Nationals on handicap.
In 2001, I bought a Beneteau 361 and operated that as a skippered charter boat on Sydney Harbour. One of the highlights was doing the twilight races with the CYCA and Drummoyne Sailing Club. 

Tell me a bit about your current crew…
My ace for’d hand is my 16-year-old daughter, Audrey for the Wednesday afternoon races. Her school has sport on Wednesday afternoons, so it works out well.
he had never raced before starting with me on this boat at the start of the Autumn season, and she has taken to it really well. Most of the time it is just the two of us, as the two friends I have joining us on occasion often have other commitments.

I started racing on Saturdays recently due to lack of availability of more experienced crew. The owner of another Elliott 780 in the club, John, decided to lay his boat up for the winter season so, he is sailing with me for the time being. On the odd occasion, a crew member of another boat not sailing on the day will join us as crew. 

What criteria do you look for when recruiting crew?
It doesn’t matter what level of experience people have, it is their level of enthusiasm that I look for. If they’re not keen, they won’t turn up!

I’m always happy to show someone the ropes because every boat is different. I still have the odd occasion when I can’t sail because of lack of crew. I would like to find two or three people who would like to sail Wednesdays and/or Saturdays. The main problem I find with finding crew is the fairly small sailing population in my area. Most of the boat owners in the club talk of having the same problem. 

What are your top tips for maintaining a successful crew?
No yelling!! I am pretty calm about things while on the boat and have experienced first-hand the effects of a skipper who loses their cool so I always approach things in a calm manner. 

Each person has their own wants and needs from sailing. They might want to be on the gun boat or they just want to find a good fit with the personalities onboard. In any case, you have to maintain an interest and I like to give everyone the opportunity to experience different crewing positions on the boat if they want to. 

Want to learn more about Clean Sweep? Click here to view their yacht profile.