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Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2012 entries now open

by Jennifer Crooks on 2 Apr 2012
Audi Sydney-Southport 2011 - start in Sydney © Andrea Francolini / Audi http://www.afrancolini.com
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, together with sponsor Audi Centre Sydney, are pleased to announce the release of the Notice of Race for the 384 nautical mile Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race to start on Sydney Harbour at 1pm, Saturday 28 July.

Within 24 hours of online entries being open, the CYCA had received four entrants that included Victorian Nicholas Bartels’ Cookson 50 Terra Firma, Kym Butler’s Archambault 40 One for the Road from Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, Grant Dawson and Brett Lawson’s Ker 11.3, Kerisma, and Andrew Wenham’s Volvo 60 Southern Excellence.

Despite some close calls, Brindabella’s 13 year old race record of 27 hours, 35 minutes and three seconds still stands. Super maxis Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley) and Investec Loyal (Anthony Bell) are set to draw swords again in a battle to gain bragging rights, the line honours win and perhaps even the record.

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; Brindabella, the people’s maxi, owned by CYCA member Jim Cooney, and nine-time Blue Water champion, Syd Fischer and his TP52 Ragamuffin.

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 Audi 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 2011 Blue Water champion, Darryl Hodgkinson and his competitive Beneteau 45 Victoire, will return to defend his title. Speaking about his 2011 win, Hodgkinson said 'The battle for points was always going to be hard fought – I’m still getting over winning the Series.

'We had AFR Midnight Rambler which was so hot - she’s a very good boat with a very good crew, great sails - and Ed’s such an amazing campaigner. Then of course we had Loki and Ragamuffin - and they’re pretty intimidating for somebody who’s come up from a modest background and who has recently made a foray into serious ocean racing,' Hodgkinson added.

In last year’s Gold Coast race, Hodgkinson walked away with the IRC Division 2 win, then followed up with an IRC Class B win at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week to claim the Audi IRC Australian Championship Class B title. And this year he intends to do it all again.

'It looks like we’ll be back to defend our title and I’m hoping for another hat trick of wins,' said Hodgkinson, who has started this year off with another win – the Lincoln Week Regatta.



'It was a challenging regatta and the local teams laid down the gauntlet to us early –and it spurred us on. I think I was more nervous in that regatta than Hobart. Our navigator (Phil Eadie) hadn’t sailed the race course before, but he’s done over 30 Hobarts – there’s lots of rocks and reefs to look out for,' Hodgkinson said.

But after all the glory of beating the locals, Victoire did not fare so well on the return journey, losing her steering approximately 400 miles from home, with the delivery crew having to use emergency steering.

'We’re hoping that everything to do with the steering is fixed in time for us to compete at Sail Port Stephens. We’re already planning our summer program,' Hodgkinson added.

The Audi 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 15 July by logging on to http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=4366

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