Thursday, 17 June 2010

Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race: Battle of the Beneteau First 40s

Harvey Milne's Archambault 31 Aroona, to be helmed by Anthony Paterson for the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

by Jennifer Crooks

The 25th Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is shaping up as a battle of the Beneteau First 40s. Last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner Andrew Saies’ Two True will make the long trek to the start line from his home town of Adelaide, where he will be met by two other recently launched Beneteau F40s Flying Cloud (CYCA Vice Commodore Howard Piggott) and Closed Halled (Graeme Hall).

“I am absolutely delighted to be sailing against Two True, the current holder of the Tattersall’s Cup,” Vice Commodore Piggott said. “With three sisterships currently entered into the race, there will be a race within a race to see who crosses the finish line first. We are pretty evenly matched on handicap and I anticipate it will be a cat and mouse game all the way up the coast.”

“I believe that we will bring out the best in each other and hopefully, given the right conditions, at least one of us will be on the podium,” Vice Commodore Piggott added.

CYCA Vice Commodore Howard Piggott's Beneteau First 40 Flying Cloud. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the organising authority, has received 27 entries to date for the silver anniversary race, with the online entry system proving popular with skippers.

Harvey Milne’s Archambault 31 Aroona, the current Audi IRC Australian Championship leader, is just one of those entries received to date. Milne will hand control of his boat over to Anthony Paterson (former owner of Tow Truck) and some of his former crew including navigator Brett Filby, Richard Howard and Garry Van Dijk for the trip north.

The 384 nautical mile Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, which starts from Sydney Harbour at 1pm on Saturday 31 July, is the third event of the four-part national Audi IRC Australian Championship.

“I am very fortunate to have such an experienced ocean racer like Anthony ‘Pato’ Paterson taking the helm of Aroona for this race,” Harvey Milne said. “Whilst I am a little disappointed I can’t sail in the race myself, I couldn’t have asked for a more experienced ocean racing crew, which was somewhat of a tonic,” Milne added

“At the beginning of the year I committed to doing all four races in the Championship, and this race will be the boat’s first major offshore race. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to consolidate my position on the Audi IRC Australian Championship leaderboard at the conclusion of this race,” Milne concluded.

Audi Australia’s managing director, Uwe Hagen, says the Audi team is looking forward to the race to the Gold Coast, and seeing how the Audi IRC Australian Championship progresses after an exciting Round 3.

The battle of the 50 footers cannot to be discounted either. The highly competitive TP52s of Bob Steel’s Quest, Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin and Robert Date’s Scarlet Runner will battle it out for podium positions with Geoff Boettcher’s modified Secret Mens Business 3.5 (Reichel Pugh 51) and Terra Firma (Cookson 50), the former Shogun, recently acquired by Nicholas Bartels.

Another new-ish boat in the fleet will be Andrew Hurt’s latest Onya, one of the last Sydney 36CRX to be built by Azzura Marine, that was launched prior to last year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

At the top end of the fleet, Wild Oats XI will be joined by Peter Millard and John Honan’s 98ft maxi Lahana. It is anticipated that a third super maxi, Sean Langman and Anthony Bell’s 100ft Investec LOYAL will enter, making it a tough three way battle for line honours glory.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is also seeking expressions of interest for a possible Veterans division in the 25th Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. Interested yachts owners are encouraged to contact the CYCA Sailing Office on

Entries close on Friday 16 July 2010 at 1700hrs with the entry documentation available on

Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race