by David Turton
Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race - David Turton and the crew onboard 'Likatiger' proved their offshore racing prowess on their way to finishing first in their PHRF division and fifth overall in PHRF in the 2011 Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race. The team onboard the Flying Tiger cunningly sailed past boats twice their size off the start and even had a brief encounter with Brindabella.
The Likatiger Team
Turton sent us a full report on his Flying Tiger and the Brisbane to Gladstone Race, covering some hairy moments in the race (a 19-knot wipeout in the black of night), the skill of his crew, his offshore schedule and the Ullman Sails inventory that helps make it happen:
I’ve owned and raced 'Likatiger' - a FT10 designed by Robert Perry - since new (coming up to four years). The design intent is for a fast, friendly day sailor but somehow over time the boat has morphed into a coastal classics racer and moved away from doing just day sailing regattas. Our offshore campaign season incorporates the Wolf Rock race 100nm, Surf to City 100nm, The Brisbane to Gladstone 308NM and the Brisbane to Keppel race 345nm. With the odd delivery thrown in, returning from Airlie Beach is over 600nm…
Since the outset Yancy and Bucky [Smith] from Ullman Sails Sunshine Coast have been involved in and supplied all the sails for the boat. The sail program also evolved from just the three sails supplied with the boat to two Mainsails (inshore and offshore), six various headsails including as big as we could fit on the boat – a new Light number one for this year’s Brisbane to Gladstone race. We also have two code zeros and four spinnakers.
One of the highlights of the inventory has been its durability.To date we haven’t replaced any of the sails supplied and more importantly have never required the sails to be repaired for any reason. We do push the boat pretty hard and during this year’s Brisbane to Gladstone, we had our big chute (138sqm) up in over 25 kts with reasonable swell, this whilst being very exhilarated hanging onto the boat when it surges towards 20kts and hangs onto 15-16kts… [We had one of these] moments while being over 100nm away from the nearest port hugging the windward shore of a sandbank shoal known as Breaksee Spit.
Likatiger crosses Brindabella
One such moment was when the tack bolt sheared and we promptly had a 19knot wipeout, boat on its side with a full main, a jib top and the big chute all having a pretty big flap in 25 knots of air, all in the dark of night with no moon… After a bit of sorting out, jib top sheeted on, bow pulls away and then the tidy up, ten minutes later we are back up to 100% with the big chute back on.
I’ve been very fortunate to have some excellent crew race on the boat and this year was no exception. The quality of the crew showed for the first stage of this year’s race, which is 50nm from the start to exiting Moreton Bay.
This year was very light and variable with a building ebb tide. We started at the leeward end of the line, which was a bit lonely, but it meant we didn’t have to contend with bad air for the first three mile leg - a one tack beat. With the new Light number one, we were quick enough to hold off all the Farr 30s and all but one of the Farr40s.
After 50nm of racing to the point of exiting the bay at NW4, we were the sixth boat out in front of all the Farr 40s. In fact, the first boat out under 49 feet! Needless to say, once in the ocean and with a bit of straight lining we were rolled by the bigger boats. The highlight of exiting the Bay for us had to be 'Brindabella' an iconic Australian 79' Maxi ducking us after four hours of racing, then catching her again whilst beam reaching and having her hail us UP.
A big thanks and congratulations to the crew: Stork, Rattie, Mad Mick, Torps and Jabin. Thanks to the guys from Ullman for supplying and looking after sails that last, stay fast and don’t break despite torrid use and abuse.