Brisbane to Keppel Race - A new race record to Wild Oats XI

Mark Richards waves after smashing Keppel race record
Suellen Hurling ©
5th Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race. Bob Oatley’s Reichel Pugh 100, Wild Oats XI, has smashed Peter Millard's Lahana's 2010 race record.

The old B2K record was 27 hours, 11 minutes and 22 seconds. Wild Oats XI was well inside that, finishing at 12:22:20 today and the new record now stands at 24 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds.

‘We had a fantastic race,' said Mark Richards (Ricko) just after they got the line honours gun. ‘A glorious day, postcard sailing and a good way to get to Hamilton Island!!

'We enjoyed it so much last year we had to come back this year. The hospitality at Keppel Bay Marina is just fantastic.'

Wild Oats XI celebrates (1) - Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race 2011
Suellen Hurling ©

Lahana’s ETA to the Keppel Bay finish line was 15:10; earlier in the afternoon she was 16 miles from the finish line iin 12-13 knots.

Sailors with disAbilities Wot Eva, the Nelson Marek TP52 rounded the tip of Breaksea Spit in clear third place and she is expected to finish in the wee hours. Their tracker is not working, 'we are in stealth mode’ commented skipper David Pescud.

Stewart Lewis' Marten 49 Ocean Affinity is in fourth place. Both yachts were sailing in soft easterlies while the bulk of fleet was tacking up Breaksea Spit, in a light north easter.

Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson commented ‘It was exciting to see Oats XI finish in such perfect conditions in this fifth Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race and beat the record. Tomorrow there's going to be some exciting finishing as most of the fleet will come in together.’

While there was light rain here last night, the early cloud burnt off and the cumulus retreated back over the ranges. This afternoon was bright sunshine with a seven-eight knot south easterly blowing and as Ricko said ‘Postcard conditions’.

Dockside after Lahana finished, Peter Millard was all smiles. 'We had a brilliant race north this year, had to work a little harder, many more sail changes and digs in and out. Will definitely be back next year, this is such a great race.'

Co-owner John Honan had a chance to steer Lahana and said simply 'Loved it'.

Wild Oats XI crosses the finish line - Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race 2011
Suellen Hurling ©