by Ian Grant
Peter Harburg’s 20.3m Brisbane to Gladstone Race line honours champion Black Jack remains poised to claim a history making performance in the premier blue water classic starting on Good Friday April 22.
Black Jack - Brisbane to Gladstone
Black Jack expertly skippered by Mark Bradford and crewed by a number of Queensland’s most experienced ocean racing sailor’s needs to successfully defend her title to become one of five crews to win three in a row since the inaugural trailblazing event 63 years ago.
The Black Jack crew deserve the opportunity to claim a place in history with Alvis (1952, 1953, 1954), Solo (1958, 1959, 1960) Apollo (1982, 1983, 1984) and Grundig (2001, 2002, 2003) following their consecutive runaway win in 2010.
There is no mistake the speed sailing Black Jack has the potential and could possibly become the new race record holder should favourable fresh winds prevail.
Black Jack was ahead of record pace when they sail surfed past the halfway point off the Fraser Island landmark of Indian Head last year but gradually lost their grip to finish with the fourth fastest time just 1 hour 27 minutes 33 seconds outside the 20 hour 24 minute 50 second record set by Grant Wharington’s super maxi Skandia Wild Thing in 2004.
However owner Peter Harburg and skipper Mark Bradford were happy with their result.
'Unfortunately we sailed into unfavourable winds across the top of Hervey Bay which ultimately ended the record challenge, but that’s yacht racing'.
'We are coming back in 2011 and maybe it will become a case of being ‘third time lucky’ Said skipper Mark Bradford.
However while Black Jack remains as the short priced favourite for the fish to finish trophy her tactical team will be forced to protect their reputations against an impressive trio of challengers including 2010 runner up Nikon Spirit of The Maid the famed Brindabella and the super fast Hooligan skippered by Marcus Blackmore.