QantasLink Brisbane-Gladstone Yacht Race 2013. Wild Thing took Line Honours in the race for the second year in a row on Saturday with a finish time of 16.05.43. The race record was never in danger during the race but despite this, the crew of Wild Thing were very pleased with the result after spending much of the race in a cat and mouse battle with their main rivals Black Jack who finished just 22 minutes behind after over twenty nine hours of racing.
After an early lead for Wild Thing leaving Moreton Bay on Good Friday, a navigational error gave the advantage to Black Jack. Having gone back and correctly rounded the missed mark, Wild Thing gave chase overnight and eventually caught back up to Black Jack on the trip up the Fraser Island coast. Although Wild Thing managed to overhaul their rivals they never managed to entirely break loose of Black Jack’s attentions.
Whilst Wild Thing celebrated their Citizens of Gladstone win, the rest of the fleet were still making their way to Gladstone so the chase for the race win and the coveted Courier Mail Cup was still well and truly on.
By Sunday afternoon, Bill Wilde was crowned as Courier Mail Cup winner after a tight battle with Black Jack and Immigrant who were split by just over an hour on corrected time following thirty hours of intense racing.
Bill first won the race in the previous incarnation of Wedgetail in 2010 and was delighted to emulate the achievement in his current yacht which bears the same name.
For much of the race, smaller boats such as Wistari were predicted to take the honours but as the wind died overnight on Saturday, one by one they fell down the leader board leaving the faster yachts to dual it out for the top spot.
The skill required for the win was one of intense concentration to squeeze the maximum out of the sails in the light and fluky conditions. The task was no doubt eased by have having renowned international sail maker Neil Pryde on board.
The final boats in the race remain out on the course making this years QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race one of the slowest since the early 1970's.