Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - NZ

Brisbane to Keppel Tropical yacht race - Southern Cross wins

by Southern Cross Yachting on 11 Aug 2013
Southern Cross Yachting
Like many of you, at the beginning of each new year I set myself goals for the year. This year my list included learn to speak French, rid the world of poverty, clean out the garage, cure cancer, not put any more dents in my van and win the Brisbane to Keppel yacht race. And as of last Monday I can tick off one of these. No my French is still limited to ordering a beer and swearing, the van has a new scratch in the tail gate, I still can’t get into the garage and Kevin Rudd will cure world poverty and cancer in the next few weeks.

But the Southern Cross Yachting team did win the Keppel race! Yes folks after a third place three years ago and second last year, we stood on the top step of the podium as we took out PHS over all.

A record 29 yachts faced the starter in the seventh edition of the great race; with Wild Oats 11 a last minute withdrawal (clearly they had heard of our pre-race form and pulled out to avoid a thrashing).

As always the start was a drifter and as soon as we crossed the line we went right out into the bay looking for the promised north-easter. With only the J133 ‘Patriot’ for company we split from the rest of the fleet and took a flyer. Over the next 45 minutes it became pretty lonely with us two yachts going east whilst the rest of the fleet continued northwest. Then the breeze went north-west and we tacked leaving us in equal last place overall on the water. Not an auspicious start.

But as the afternoon wore on ‘Oceans’ light weather speed coupled with simply brilliant tactics saw us work our way back through the fleet and by late afternoon we were mid-fleet and in second place on handicap. As we cleared the bay around 2030 that night we were in great shape on the water and in first place on handicap a lead we then held for the rest of the race. Conditions could not have been better as we were hard on the wind all night in a slight swell and light nor’easter. Dawn saw us 55 miles from Indian Head with all of our enemies behind us. We kept the boat moving all day through a session of sail changes light number one, jib top, asymmetrical spinnaker, then back through them all again.

We passed Sandy Cape at sunset as the wind headed us and we began a long tacking duel along Breaksea Spit with ‘Carbon Credits’, ’Sweethart’ and ‘Not a Diamond.’ Shortly after rounding the Breaksea Spit light we passed Carbon Credits and we had the class leaders in sight three miles ahead. We began the long beat across the paddock, heading west towards Gladstone waiting for the wind to go west in the early morning. At about 3am we felt the wind heading us and we tacked, slightly ahead of Carbon Credits and Georgia Express. The long drag race to the finish began. Another exhausting day of sail changes kept the crew busy all throughout the day. (Nothing like winning to keep you focused!) We passed Cape Capricorn at sunset and radioed our estimated ETA to the finish as 1944.

The northwester settled in at fifteen knots and we were blast reaching along at nine knots towards the finish line chasing Georgia and Carbon Credits that had snuck past us just before the Cape.

The crew were highly motivated to keep trimming and our longer water line slowly got us past Georgia, but the much larger Carbon Credits was not getting any smaller in front of us but not getting any bigger either!

The last hour was nerve wracking as I kept checking the tracker and recalculating the handicaps.

10 miles from the finished I realised we could not be beaten unless the mast fell down but none of us wanted to jinx ourselves by talking about winning just yet. At 1942 we crossed the finish line two minutes ahead of Georgia to take out PHS over all, PHS Div II, the navigators prize (closest finish time to the ETA from the Cape we were one and a half minutes out!)

We tied up in Keppel Bay Marina to a huge reception and the party began. Presentation was at 930 the next morning and the Commodore held his breath as I stepped up to receive my trophy from the Governor. I managed to shake her hand twice without saying anything inappropriate – much to relief of the Commodore.

A huge congratulations to the crew Ben, John, Warwick, Mark, Tom, Peter and Andrew. Well done guys in our 19 year old boat with its 12 year old sails we had beaten many brand new professionally sailed boats something I spent plenty of time reminding the owners of at the post race celebrations.

Congratulations to the crews of Wild Thing (Line Honours), Blunderbuss (IRC overall and DivII) and Ragtime (second IRC and third ORCI) and of course the sponsors, volunteers and staff that made the race possible.

This magnificent victory by Southern Cross is of course not without controversy. As the Chairman of both the Sailing Committee and the Race Committee, there have been unfair and untrue allegations that I may have ‘fixed’ the handicaps. Nothing could be further from the truth, but my arguments fell on deaf ears after a short humorous (well I thought so!) video about PHS Handicaps that I made for end of season’s presentations. You see skippers constantly complain that the handicaps are wrong and this video was made to explain how the handicaps are worked out. It has come back to bite me. Big time. Here is the link to the video. You can make you own mind up.



To celebrate this magnificent win we are sailing a victory lap over the same course to Keppel and then on to the Whitsundays departing on Tuesday 3rd September 2013. And we still have one place left.

This seven day trip is ideal for those looking for offshore experience or completing skippered passages for their yachtmaster exam.

So that’s all for this edition, I am still waiting for one of the America’s Cup syndicates to call offering me a skipper’s role so if you don’t hear from me for a while you will know where I am. And if you see ‘Oceans’ on the way to the Whitsundays, drop by for a drink. We have got plenty of cups now.

Until next time sail safe
Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportNorth Technology - Southern SparsLancer Industries - Lasts Longer

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted today at 3:19 am
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Hoisted on their own petard
Now it was not that long ago that we wondered if there were some genuinely Shakespearean elements beginning to appear... Now it was not that long ago that we wondered if there were some genuinely Shakespearean elements beginning to appear in World Sailing’s premier event, the Sailing World Cup. In that time, a flurry of material has espoused all manner of joyous points including travel grants and prize money. That’s terrific and the hope is that somehow this will overcome the tyranny of distance for Melbourne
Posted on 9 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May