The magic of the one and only Surf to City Yacht Race will be that little bit more special this year with the predicted drag-racing easterly on the cards for this Saturday January 14.
Qld Cruising Yacht Club will be running their event this year for the 19th time as a leadup to their prestigious Brisbane to Gladstone Race, and the fastest boats on the east coast have been tuning up this week for a rip at each of their classes’ line honours records.
The uniqueness that makes this event so big in Australia is that no other event includes a simultaneous inshore and offshore race. Both courses challenge the crews and boats trying to get the fastest elapsed times between Southport and Shorncliffe, either through the inshore maze of islands and sandbanks, or bouncing across the offshore waves on the course outside Stradbroke and Moreton Islands, and back into the bay late Saturday night.
On the outside course, we are all excited to have the canting keel rocket BlackJack back on the water with Peter Harburg going for safer speeds on the water than in his racing cars.
The crew are keen to crack the record, and even though this boat is unlikely to be challenged by any of the other monohulls, Gary Saxby is going to try hard to give these guys a hurry-up from his comparatively shoe-string budgeted catamaran Boss Racing, also chasing the record.
On the more crowded inshore race, Noel Leigh-Smith is back with the biggest skiff in the fleet for his attempt at a record. His crew always provide a spectacle on Vivace hanging on to the biggest spinnaker they can find in the bilge to seek out the fastest speeds.
The Vivace boys show that a big skiff can fly without trapezes - Surf to City Yacht Race - Jules Geldard?nid=92800
They will be hard-pressed keeping the Tony Considine optimised catamaran Mad Max behind them with George Owen on the tiller trying to bag the multihull record now held by Keith Glover’s Trilogy.
Of particular note this year are the new Dennis Grant Memorial trophies for winners, in honour of the guy who helped seed this race.
Dennis passed away in recent months, and was a keen mono and multihull sailor, so would be chuffed at the battles about to be fought and won on the race course. He would also be impressed that there is a big chance that the mono and multi boats are likely to start together in this year’s Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Races.