Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2011-2012 second race in leg one started in Madeira and finished in Rio De Janeiro. Hobart yachtsman Richard Hewson has skippered Gold Coast Australia to its second race victory.
Surfing down the Atlantic coast of Brazil to Rio at speeds of 20 knots, Hewson and his crew of ten amateur sailors finished the 4,900 nautical mile race across the Atlantic early this evening, Australain eastern time.
The yacht, sponsored by the Gold Coast City in Queensland, had a lead of more than 115 nautical miles over the next boat in the fleet of ten identical 68-footers, Singapore.
Hewson, 31, a former Royal Australian Navy officer, is one of the ten professional skippers but all other crew members are amateurs, some with limited sailing experience before signing on for the Clipper Race.
As they neared Rio yesterday Hewson reported that his boat had achieved 'fantastic' speeds in 'beautiful conditions' overnight. 'On one wave the boat just took off like a Ferrari,' said Hewson, who learned to sail in Sabots at Lindisfarne Sailing Club on Hobart’s eastern shore.
'There was a wall of water either side of the bow and spray so thick I could not see the horizon from the helm. The boat surfed down the first wave at about 18 knots, then rode up over the second wave and accelerated again.
'By the time we reached the third wave, Gold Coast Australia was surfing at over 23 knots, so fast that the spinnaker was turning inside out due to the apparent wind moving forward,' Hewson added.
Gold Coast Australia is one of ten specially built yachts sponsored by each of the ports of call for the fleet in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, including two Australian ports, Albany in Western Australia and the Gold Coast in Queensland.
The Australian yacht won the first 730 nautical mile race from Southhampton, England, to Madeira and now the 4,900 nautical mile race across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro. Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website