In 1982, Don travelled to Sydney to work on the competing yachts in the first BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race.

Impressed with what he saw, he decided to compete in the next BOC challenge in 1986. Moving permanently to Sydney to start the campaign, he married Margie and so began a grand partnership. 

To legitimise the sport, together they established the Short Handed Sailing Association of Australia with the assistance of Robin Knox-Johnston as patron. Don met and became friends with his boyhood hero during the 1982 BOC.

As chairman for the next five years, major events were organised, but a lack of funds prevented the completion of Don’s half built 50ft, BOC race boat in time for the 1986 event.

Don and Margie then went on to organise, manage and promote the first and only ever, Goodman Fielder Wattie Bicentennial Around Australia Yacht Race in 1988. This was underwritten by McIntyre Marine Services, his equipment importing and boat building company. The race was won by the late Sir Peter Blake, in the 60ft ‘Steinlager’ trimaran.

An incident on the first night of the race (when a crew man was lost and a police boat sank) became a public controversy, leading to Don launching a three year defamation case against the then NSW police commissioner, which he won.