Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race - Another Easter, another Gladstone

CutSnake covering Lightwave Raider on the way out of the bay - Allyacht Spars Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull Yacht Race
Peter Hackett
Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race - The Big One certainly delivered again for all fleets sailing on a really nice stretch of SE Qld coast this year. The predicted light wind start made us all work hard to get out of the bay before the tide turned, and in a premonition of the finish, Rob Dean on CutSnake showed his transoms to all of us at the start to set the pace for his team’s entire race.

From then the predicted SE change came through in the early afternoon to push the fleet north, and although the wind rarely got above 20 knots, the black skies and often heavy rain made it difficult to pick how much sail to hang on to, and which angle to maintain. The first night always sets the tone for races like this, and performance depended upon how carefully sails were chosen for the squalls that on some occasions remained stuck to us for hours. Some cells were wet, some were windy, and some sucked the wind out of our sails. Most boats reported speeds in excess of 20 knots and quite a few got to the magic 25 as we surfed down some the long swells.

The southeaster stayed in for a lot longer than predicted, and it wasn’t until most of the boats broke away from Breaksea Spit that the breeze clocked towards a soft northeaster. That then slowed the race down for the afterguard who had to downwind tack from Lady Elliot Island. As usual, the entrance to Gladstone Harbour slowed us all down for hours, and steering through the bright lights of shipping and industrial entrails burnt out every helmsman’s night vision.

Boss was powered up early with screacher unfurled - Allyacht Spars Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull Yacht Race
Peter Hackett

The venerable Gary Saxby campaigning a well prepared Boss Racing again claimed a deserved line honours victory, and once on land Gary had to work hard to carry his trophy haul away from the presentation. Gary has been designing and building his own boats and sails for years, and he quietly works away with son and protégé Jamie at how to get the most out of this catamaran.

Proud winner on OMR was CutSnake owner Rob Dean, a champion sailboarder, so he lured another younger sailboarder Joel Tyack on board for the event, complimented by designer Peter Brady. These guys had a few itchy moments running big spinnakers through the night, and a couple of nosedives reminded them that the Bruce Highway is not the only dangerous place at Easter.

Roger Overell recovered from a poor start to keep the cockpit fairly dry and get to second place on OMR, while Boss Racing managed third.

Guts and Glory prize must go to Trevor Brown crewing on Drew Carruthers’ Rush Hour. When a spinnaker halyard failed in the worst of the squalls, they dropped the mainsail to use that halyard to pull 'volunteer' Trevor up the mast to effect a repair. He performed a teabag routine swinging out a few times before getting the job done, and looked pretty grey after it was all over.

Any discussion of the race must come with a special tribute to Ian 'Stripey' Grant who passed away while we were out there. Stripey has done enormous good for all yachting in this country and it was touching to be part of one minute's silence at each of the monohull and multihull presentations. More than a few eyes were not dry, and we will all miss the spectacular vernacular that only Stripey could produce.

Congratulations for the event must go to sponsors Allyacht Spars, Multihull Yacht Club of Qld, and Port Curtis Yacht Club, for organising and running this magnificent event. Special thanks also to Qld Cruising Yacht Club for again sharing so many of their facilities (and startline this year) with the multihulls. Discussions at Gladstone seemed to indicate that the best chance of growing the success of this event will come from it becoming one big yacht race. Watch this space.

Spirit and Morticia showed flashes of brilliance - Allyacht Spars Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull Yacht Race
Peter Hackett

The Lightwave Raider crew are hoping the finisher saw them in Glad-Vegas - Allyacht Spars Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull Yacht Race
Peter Hackett

Sunrise at sea was welcome after a wild night - Allyacht Spars Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull Yacht Race
Peter Hackett