|The start of the 2012 Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.|
by Jennifer Crooks
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is pleased to announce the release of the Notice of Race for the 384 nautical mile Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race to start on Sydney Harbour at 1pm, Saturday 27 July.
Last year, Bob Oatley’s super maxi Wild Oats XI smashed Brindabella’s 13 year old race record by 5hrs, 31mins and 57 secs, with an elapsed time of 22hrs, 3mins, 46secs; and will be back to see if she can go even faster.
“We are really looking forward to the Sydney Gold Coast Race as it will be the first step in our preparations for another crack at line honours in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards said.
“The Gold Coast Race is one we really enjoy because it’s coastal all the way. That makes it very different to the Hobart race, but even so, we still have to be on our game 24/7. It can be very tricky.
“If we’re given the right weather heading north to the Gold Coast we’ll certainly be going all out to break the course record we set last year. However, I think it will be a tough record to crack as the weather conditions last year were exceptional,” Richards added.
Some of the 70 plus yachts expected to compete in the annual pilgrimage north include: Peter Millard and John Honan’s 98ft Bakewell/White designed Lahana; and Brindabella, the people’s maxi, owned by CYCA member Jim Cooney. The super maxi Ragamuffin 100 won't be on the start line as she will be state-side competing in the Transpacific Yacht Race.
Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI set a new race record of 22hrs, 3mins, 46secs last year. Image coypright Andrea Francolini
First sailed in 1986, following the construction of the $40 million Gold Coast seaway, which opened the sheltered waters of Southport’s Broadwater and other coastal waterways to the open sea, the inaugural race attracted a fleet of 86 of Australia’s leading yachts, with Sydney identity Jack Rooklyn bringing his famous 80-footer Apollo out of retirement for the race.
A leading maxi at the time, Apollo went on to take line honours and first place overall under the IOR rule. Among the famous yachtsmen who sailed in that first race was Jock Sturrock, who skippered Gretel in Australia’s first challenge for the America’s Cup in 1962.
The CYCA’s prestigious Blue Water Pointscore Series (BWPS), commences with the 384 nautical mile Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. The BWPS is a six-race series, with the champion to be crowned at the conclusion of the 628 nautical-mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The 2012 Blue Water champion, Stephen Ainsworth and his super sleek Reichel Pugh 63 Loki, won’t be on the starting line as Ainsworth has taken a break from sailing and put the boat on the market after winning the blue water pointscore series last year.
The 2011 Blue Water champion, Darryl Hodgkinson, has recently purchased the canting keel 50 footer Jazz, and will campaign her in the Blue Water pointscore as Victoire.
“The new boat feels wonderful – we’ve been out sailing her every Saturday. There’s lots to learn but it’s fun and challenging,” Hodgkinson said. “The boat has been particularly well looked after by the former owner (Chris Bull), and I haven’t had to do much too it. Every time I step on board I have a smile from ear to ear.
“This race is the beginning of our Blue Water campaign. My core crew from the previous Victoire: Sean Kirkjian, Danny McConville and Travis Tubman; together with some new crew members who have committed the campaign. We’ll also be competing in the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Race Week,” Hodgkinson added.
The Sydney Gold Coast Yacht takes the fleet from the Nielsen Park start line, down the Harbour and out through Sydney Heads, before turning left to head to the finish line off Main Beach at Southport, on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Entry can be completed online until 1700 hours on Friday 12 July by logging on to http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au/
To view the Notice of Race log on to http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au/