Scott ‘Scooter’ Hinton and sailing are synonymous; have been since long before his voice broke. From January 11 to 16, Hinton guided IRC Division 1 yacht, Fujin, to victory in the Royal Langkawi International Regatta in Malaysia.
The yacht lived up to the Japanese meaning for Fujin – Shinto god of wind –, winning five of the eight races over the regatta’s six days.
Hinton, who is a highly regarded sail maker and one of the first to make a profession of it in Australia, has a long history of trimming sails for international racing yachts – the Langkawi regatta was one of his most rewarding sailing experiences.
“It was my second regatta as a tactician,” he said, “I’m normally a sail trimmer who makes the boat go fast, [whereas] the tactician coordinates the angle of the boat on the course – I’ve moved into a role doing both jobs.
“At the presentation, getting the biggest cheer compared to of the other divisions that also won was one of the biggest highlights of my life.
“That was quite an accolade for me after moving up to the tactician and trimmer role.”
On his previous IRC Division 1 yacht, Foxy Lady, Hinton twice helped steer the yacht to victory in the Asian championships.
“To win the blue jacket award [presented to the yacht’s owner] is like winning the PGA in golf,” he said, “and to do it two years in a row on the same boat with the same team and owner had never been done before.”
For a decade Hinton was the sail coordinator and head trimmer for international sail making brand and yacht namesake, Quantum Racing; where he was responsible for putting the crew together and teaching them how to get the best out of the boat.
Now 48-years-old, Hinton shows no signs of slowing down; rather, he continues to live up to his nickname.
“Scooter was the prop boy in the Muppets, and when Kermit yelled out Scooter, he was there in the blink of an eye,” he said.
“I was sitting down with other kids as an 11 or 12 year old watching the Muppets after winning my third national title in Brisbane.
“Someone said, ‘that’s Scott, he just doesn’t stop, he’s like lightning’, and the name stuck.”
Ironically, his friends from the city reckon he’s slowed down and call him ‘Country’. It was true for a while though, Hinton took a six-year hiatus due to “overload” when he moved to Yamba 23 years ago.
On a regular day he can be found zipping around the Yamba marina, where he operates his business, Scooter Sails & Shades, which has its own story, too.
“When I was manufacturing sails for a company in Sydney, where I ended up running the shop, I started making windsurfer sails and people started getting big black Textas and writing ‘Scooter’ on my sails in black jagged letters – by the time I left Sydney it was my company name, Scooter Sails,” he said.