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Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race departs with RP66 Alive sailing double-handed

by Nic Douglass 20 Jun 01:07 PDT 20 June 2024

The 343 nautical mile Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race, hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, began on Thursday 20 June following a lengthy delay as the race committee waited for the breeze to reach the starting area.

The early lead was taken by double-handed entry Balancing Act, the J/99 co-skippered by Tony Crander & Andrew Turnbull-Miller.

However it was Alive, the Sydney-Hobart winning RP66 co-skippered by Duncan Hine and Glen Myler, that made the most of the building breeze, quickly moving to the front of the fleet of seven, but for the first time also sailing in the double-handed division.

"This is the first time the boat has endeavoured to do a two-handed race, so we're pretty excited about that", said Alive co-skipper Duncan Hine prior to the race.

The boat is racing under the same handicap as when it won the Tattersall Cup, the Rolex Sydney Hobart overall last year, with those additional crew, and full sail suite on board.

"Trying to work out how to do all the functions on the boat which is designed for twelve people to race when there's now just two of us in there makes it pretty exciting. The forecast is not very favourable to us. We'll be racing very conservatively, just trying to get a handle on the job basically", he confessed.

"It's a great race and a great club and it's really good to have this race at this time of the year", Hine concluded, and while being modest continues to lead even in tough conditions.

"We've had an interesting day for the start of the race", said Mark Gallagher, Race Director.

"First off we had our Race Officer fall sick, so we had to scramble for another Race Officer, and luckily Louise Davis, one of our Club Race Officers was available and she stepped up to the plate at exceptionally short notice", he said.

"We knew the conditions were going to be light, but they were lighter than expected", he continued.

"We attempted to get a start away at 1100 on schedule, unfortunately in the last 30 seconds, the breeze dropped out completely, and it wouldn't have been a fair start for competitors".

"We hoisted the AP and waited and watched the weather in our vicinity and to the North. It certainly was not looking good. But just before 1400 which was going to be our cutoff time, the breeze kicked in, thank goodness! We were able to very quickly get a race away, at 1406, just three hours behind schedule".

The competitors on clearing Moreton Bay and the turning mark will then continue north on the course to pass Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands, and onto the finish line off Keppel Bay Marina.

Despite the delay, the first finishers are expected late on Saturday 22 June with a change expected tonight to give competitors a speedy run home to the finish.

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