Sail-World.com : Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull - Set in stone
Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull - Set in stone
Back in the early 1960’s Hedley Nicol, then known as the guru of Australian Multihull offshore racing, confidently predicted that it was possible to sail the 308 nautical miles from Brisbane’s Moreton Bay to Gladstone in under 18 hours.
'Team Australia (competing in XXXX Sail Paradise 2012)'
Most who heard that statement delivered on the dock at Gladstone’s O’Connell wharf after Hedley Nicol steered his self designed and built trimaran Vagabond to her line honours triumph in the very first Multihull race to Gladstone in 1964 thought that he was ‘spiking’ the gathering into a debate.
But that was not the case the trailblazing designer and builder had responsibly made his prediction based on experience and believed his inaugural race time stood to be challenged.
Unfortunately the trail blazing multihull racing advocate lost his life in the storm tormented Pacific Ocean in the early stages of a planned voyage to America in August 1966.
Over the past 48 years his prediction progressively became a reality when the Adrian Rodgers skippered catamaran Shockwave became the first to complete the course under the super fast 20 hour mark before Martyn Riley steered the Melbourne catamaran Raw Nerve to her remarkable course time of 18 hours 55 minutes 9 seconds in blustery south east winds in 2004.
As expected the record challenge was on the agenda when Sean Langman who has the career distinction of setting two of the three fastest times ever recorded in the mono class Brisbane to Gladstone race entered his speed sailing trimaran Team Australia.
The fast lane sailing Team Australia which had already set a remarkable 27.7 knot average as a career bench mark when she raced under the name of Banque Populaire in Europe had the proven credentials to qualify as the favourite to move Hedley Nicol’s 48 year old prediction into reality.
Thankfully the normal Easter trade wind was in place when Team Australia with her 8 person crew including skipper Sean Langman, his 18 year old son Peter, female International match racing skipper Katie Spithill as tactician and former Volvo Globe sailor Josh Alexander power sailed out of Moreton Bay covering the first 127 nautical miles with a spray drenching Average speed of 18.63 knots.
The thrill a second sail towards a new Gladstone Race record continued as the crew who were answering the demands of sailing their first official coastal passage race on Team Australia left their rivals over 30 miles astern as the continued their fast and thrilling ride.
The average speed had climbed to an even more remarkable 19.28 knots when the Team Australia crew sailed on a super fast course towards Australian blue water racing history while their eight rivals headed by Boss Racing and Mojo understandably slipped further behind.
Skipper Sean Langman and his exceptionally talented crew eventually claimed a special milestone in the sport of Australian ocean racing when Team Australia completed the course in 16 hours 28 minutes 21 seconds breaking Raw Nerve’s record by 2 hours 26 minutes 48 seconds with an average speed of 18.70 knots.
This remarkable achievement has finally proved that the statement made by Hedley Nicol 48 years ago and suggested by the disbelievers as impossible is now a reality.
The interesting measure of overall performance when Team Australia outpaced her high 1.500 handicap rating to also win the race outright by 26 minutes 57 seconds from the Peter Wilcox skippered Mojo .914 and the Bill Donnelly/Gary Saxby helmed Boss Racing .988
Team Australia (Sean Langman) 16-28-21
Boss Racing (Bill Donnelly / Gary Saxby ) 26-01-23
Mojo (Peter Wilcox) 27-31-30
Chill Pill (Wayne Bloomer) 29-51-51
Foxy (Shane Russell) 35-56-42
Attitude (Allan Larkin) 39-54-57
Renaissance (Mike Hodges) 41-21-02
Rushour (Drew Carruthers) 42-07-41
No Problem (Ray Hobbs) 42-44-06 9.
Team Australia 24-32-31
Boss Racing 25-42-39
Chill Pill 28-07-55
Boss Racing 25-14-23
Team Australia 28-00-12
Chill Pill 28-40-11
No Problem 31-11-48
by Ian Grant
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5:21 AM Wed 11 Apr 2012GMT
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