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2019 Bird Island Race: Record stands and divisional battles heat up

by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 30 Nov 00:39 PST 30 November 2019
Peter Harburg's Black Jack was first across the line but missed breaking the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Bird Island Race record set in 2018 © CYCA

After a fast-paced start and leading out of Sydney Heads by a comfortable margin, Peter Harburg's Black Jack was the first yacht to cross the finish line in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore (Audi Centre Sydney BWPS) Bird Island Race.

After a confident first leg in the strong and gusty southerly winds, Black Jack was looking like they were on track to challenge the race record set in 2018 by Comanche. After rounding the island, the breeze did not favour Harburg and his team with the wind radically dropping to a mere whisper. By the time Black Jack made their way across the finish line in Rushcutters Bay they had been racing for 6 hours, 48 minutes, 15 seconds - 40 minutes outside the record.

Closely behind was the second of the 100-foot entrants, Christian Beck's InfoTrack. They were unable to match Black Jack's speed out of Sydney Harbour, but once on their way back to the finish, were able to get within half a nautical mile.

Behind the super maxis, the battle for divisional bragging rights is strongly raging. CYCA Vice Commodore Noel Cornish AM and his crew on St Jude are once again putting up a valiant fight currently holding firm at the top of both IRC and ORCi Division 2. Cornish is no stranger to the pointy end of the divisions with St Jude putting on a strong performance in the last Audi Centre Sydney BWPS race, winning their division in both ORCi and IRC.

Putting on a show is two-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winner Quest, owned by Craig Neil and Bob Steel. Quest currently holds top position in both IRC and ORCi Division 1 with fellow TP52 Matt Allen AM's Ichi Ban close behind. The TP52 design has proven a strong performer in these ocean races and look to be again.

PHS is also being commanded by mid-sized entrants with Julian Farren-Price's About Time holding off Quest in Division 1, and Murray Owen and Jenny Kings Mahligai sitting atop PHS Division 2.

With the weather set to change drastically in the next six hours of the race and majority of the fleet still at sea, entrants are working hard to make the most of what is to come.

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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