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Flying start for the 2019 Bird Island Race

by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 29 Nov 17:55 PST 30 November 2019
The downwind conditions made for an impressive start on Sydney Harbour today, with 1904-built Katwinchar (centre) holding her ground against her modern rivals - 2019 Bird Island Race © CYCA

A blustering 25-knot southerly greeted the competitors for the start of the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Bird Island Race, making for a spectacular downwind start on Sydney Harbour. Hitting the line at full speed, colourful spinnakers and code zeros billowed for the drag-race leg down the harbour and north to Bird Island some 40 miles beyond.

Of the two super-maxis, it was Peter Harburg's Black Jack which made it to open water first, pipping Christian Beck's InfoTrack for the first bragging rights of the race. With heavy downwind conditions and the breeze forecast to shift towards the east this afternoon, Black Jack will be in with a shot of challenging the open race record set by Comanche only last year.

Also impressive was Quentin Stewart's Infiniti 46R Maverick 49. The team were in their element with full canvas off the start, allowing the boat to seemingly fly down Sydney Harbour on her DSS foils. From the UK, the international team have taken on many of the classic 600-nautical-mile races on their way to Sydney, and now have their sights firmly set on the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Katwinchar, the 1904-built ketch now owned by Bill Barry-Cotter, is another team taking on the Bird Island Race in the lead-up to this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart. The oldest confirmed yacht to have ever competed the race to Hobart, Katwinchar has undergone a meticulous restoration, and in the hands of Hobart legends Michael Spies and Bill's brother Kendal Barry-Cotter, she has not only performed exceptionally off the line today but will be a force to be reckoned with come Boxing Day this year.

Stay locked on bwps.cyca.com.au to keep up to date with the race tracker, results, photos and video of the start. Fans, participants and media are encouraged to tag their Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series content with the official hashtag #AudiCentreSydneyBWPS on all social media.

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