by Ian Grant
Brisbane to Gladstone.
Weather forecasters are predicting a light head wind start to the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club’s 63rd Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race off the historical Sandgate Pier at noon on Good Friday.
They are expecting light five knot northerly sea breeze which will hardly allow the more powerful yachts including the 2009 and 2010 line honours winner the Mark Bradford helmed Brisbane sloop Black Jack to generate an exciting boat speed to challenge their 21 hour 52 minute 23 second elapsed time set last year.
This relatively unstable forecast for the Easter holiday weekend is in complete contrast to the wild weather which dumped torrential rain on Moreton Bay during the past 24 hours while a 41 knot Easterly gust sent the Cape Moreton wind speed recorder into overdrive at 1-30 pm yesterday.
Unless there is an unforeseen change the super fast line honours trophy contenders Black Jack, Lahana, Brindabella, Spirit of the Maid and Hooligan could face some time occupying an aquatic parking lot along the northern Sunshine Coast beaches on Good Friday night.
All five big boat skippers and their tacticians have agreed the 20 hour 24 minute 50 second record set by the Grant Wharington skippered Victorian maxi Skandia Wild Thing in 2004 will remain as the present wet and windy weather system slips away into the Tasman Sea.
While Race Director Herb Prendergast remains optimistic he and other long term Gladstone Race sailors have prepared to face a tactically tormenting challenge to maintain the required handicap rated boat speed to become the 2011 winner of the prestigious 63year old trophy The Courier-Mail Cup.
A slow start and a fast finish could favour the lower handicapped race veterans the Peter Kerr skippered 1964 race champion Pagan and her match racing rival 1964 MacDonald helmed 1959 Sydney Hobart race champion Cherana.
Brisbane to Gladstone