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Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race fleet taking shape

by Lisa Ratcliff 12 Jun 18:12 PDT From 2 August 2019
Black Jack and Wild Oats XI go head-to-head - Hamilton Island Race Week 2018 © Kurt Arrigo

The fleet for the inaugural Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race is taking shape with the addition of the Oatley family's 100-footer Wild Oats XI and Rupert Henry's Judel/Vrolijk 62 Chinese Whisper bringing the total to 16 starters so far.

Peter Harburg's Queensland supermaxi Black Jack is undergoing major pre-season surgery and the optimal deadline for the 100-footer's relaunch is prior to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race at the end of July. Off the back of that longstanding event is the first-ever Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race, organised by Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron with the cooperation of Hamilton Island.

Speaking on the likelihood of meeting the two start dates of July 27 and August 2 respectively, Black Jack's longtime helmsman Mark Bradford said: "We are pretty organised but in two weeks we'll have a much better idea." If the team overseeing Black Jack's modification is confident of meeting the deadline the boat will be entered in both bluewater races.

Bradford expanded on the changes, designed to bring the hull up to a 2019 shape in the most economical way: "We feel like we are fast upwind but downwind [Wild] Oats and Comanche are reeling us in so we are modifying the shape of the bow, making it fuller in sectional shape to make the hull more powerful in an attempt to improve downwind speed. The deck and structure stay intact, we are replacing the hull section on the outside of the boat, so the hull skin changes and then the structure is built back out."

Bradford is looking forward to lining up against Wild Oats and trialing the modification as both supermaxi teams countdown to this year's epic 75th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: "Anytime you get to sail against Oats is a great opportunity."

Wild Oats' boat manager Paul Magee says it makes sense to combine a delivery with a race, to transfer boats north to Hamilton Island Race Week, August 17 - 24. "Like Black Jack, we are using the Brisbane to Hamilton Island event to prep for the anniversary Hobart race," Magee said.

Building on their first northern sojourn and Race Week entry is Rupert Henry and Dave Griffith's Chinese Whisper out of the CYCA. "We have a wonderful boat we want to use," Griffith commented. "The race to Hamilton Island looks interesting and it's a chance to get to know the boat better over a long race that's hopefully not too fresh."

With a crew of 12-14, including Tom Braidwood and Michael Coxon, Chinese Whisper is too working towards this year's anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart.

In the multihull division, Dale Mitchell's Lombard trimaran Morticia will line up against a tri close to two-and-a-half times its size in Karl Kwok's MOD70 Beau Geste. Charles Meredith's Victorian cruising catamaran called Peccadillo joined the entry list this week.

The 530 nautical mile Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island challenge is due to start at 11am on August 2, 2019 from Moreton Bay and finish off the beautiful Whitsunday island, home to Hamilton Island Race Week.

The standard entry fee applies until 1700hrs on July 19 and thereafter a late fee may apply. Notice of Race available here.

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