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Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race tests patience and skill

by Ian Grant on 23 Apr 2011
Lahana - Brisbane to Gladstone Ian Grant
Qantaslink Brisbane to Gladstone race competitor, Peter Millard’s 30m maxi sloop Lahana, hardly made a ripple on the relatively calm ocean when she led Peter Harburg’s 20.2m Black Jack for line honours in the earlier today.

Lahana had drift sailed to extend her lead to 13 n/mls while her crew continued to be committed to a busy workload of sail changing.

At 3am this morning the Tracertrak race plotter confirmed that Lahana and her major line honours rival Black Jack were slowly closing on the halfway mark after 15 hours of racing in frustrating light winds.

Both crews were expected to contest a nip-n-tuck dogfight for the first to finish trophy but Lahana’s advantage of a longer waterline and larger sail area left the 2009 and 2010 champion Black Jack trailing astern.

This lead also allowed Lahana to hold the provisional lead on corrected handicap over Black Jack and the Marcus Blackmore skippered Hooligan while Jim Cooney’s Brindabella which will challenge the Around Australia record next month held fourth place 44 n/mls astern of Lahana.

As expected the coastal forecast of calm seas and light winds continued to test both the patience and skill as the race progresses to challenge the slowest in 26 years when The Office claimed the line honours after 57 hours 37 minutes and 15 seconds of patient racing in similar weather conditions.

Meanwhile all the race crews were forced to wait patiently for a true sailing breeze to blow over the horizon as the slower, older and lower handicapped yachts which trailed race leader Lahana by more than 70 nautical miles drifted along in the predawn hours hoping for a change in the wind direction and velocity later Brisbane to Gladtone Yacht Race website

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