by Ian Grant
The 308 n/ml Brisbane to Gladstone race will be run over the Easter Weekend and New South Wales yachts Lahana (Peter Millard) and the impressively fast Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore) are favoured to win a state of origin war on the water.
Black Jack - Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race
Lahana the former New Zealand owned 30m maxi Zana winner of the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel race holds a decisive 10m waterline length over Queensland’s defending line honours winner Black Jack which suggests her crew remain as the short priced pre-race favourite.
However the Peter Harburg owned and Mark Bradford skippered Black Jack has been secretly modified with a full wardrobe of high performance North sails.
As to be expected this line honours duel shows the promise to become a drag race with the smaller 20m Black Jack well prepared for a tactical arm wrestle.
A similar intense tactical struggle for class handicap honours will test the 47 yacht fleet where the Marcus Blackmore skippered Hooligan dominates the prerace call of the card to win the prestigious 63 yard old Courier Mail Cup by registering the fastest corrected course time.
Hooligan recognised as Australia’s fastest 16m yacht has set the pace by winning major short course races in Victoria and New South Wales to have an edge over the smaller Mooloolaba sloop Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria IV skippered by dual Australian ocean racing champion Rod Jones.
This race not unlike all previous 62 coastal classics promises to test the tactical awareness of the high profile sailors manning the deck of Hooligan.
As expected skipper Marcus Blackmore has left nothing to chance and has named a very experienced crew including Olympian and Americas Cup winning yachtsman Colin Beashel in his crew for what promises to be an interesting race against the several lower handicapped Queensland yachts including the high performance Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria IV for the honour of becoming the 2011 Brisbane to Gladstone race champion.
Brisbane to Gladstone website