Finally some real wind in Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

Chutzpah is among the latest finishers – credit Andrea Francolini, CYCA

Finally some decent breeze for the yachts still at sea in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, with 29 boats having crossed the finish line at Main Beach, Southport, and at least eight others set to finish by 6pm.

Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40 Chutzpah, from Victoria, Andrew and Pauline Dally’s DK46 Khaleesi, and Dean Harrigan’s Reichel/Pugh 42, Playstation, are the latest arrivals, leaving 36 on the race track.

A the back of the fleet, only Philip Bell’s She, representing the race finish partner, Southport Yacht Club, and Chris Matthews’ Local Hero are abeam of Yamba, and with those in close proximity, are enjoying a 15 knot north-easterly wind, pushing them more quickly towards Southport than all earlier anticipated.

Further ahead, and closing in on Point Danger, are the Cookson 12 Occasional Coarse Language One (William Bailey), Derek and Martin Sheppard’s Beneteau 45 Black Sheep, the Sydney 38 The Goat, skippered by Mitchell Gordon and Queenslander Ian Coward’s Nelson/Marek 43, Quest, skippered by Steven North.

Occasional Coarse Language One’s navigator Jenifer Wells said from the race track just after 3.30pm: “We’re out at sea and have had The Goat, Bravo (Robbo Robertson’s Beneteau 40) and The Sheep (Black Sheep) with us. We’re enjoying fantastic conditions – north-west at 10-20 knots.

“We’re looking forward to arriving tonight, to having a drink or two and a good sleep,” said Wells, who as a navigator has had very little sleep this race.

“You have to admire the dedication of the fleet in hanging in there. It’s been a really tough race,” said Wells, pointing out “Even the big boats had to spend two nights at sea,” a most unusual occurrence.

“A lot of us are really missing Roger Hickman and Wild Rose,” said Wells, echoing the sentiments of many in this race, including Shane Kearns, the owner skipper of Komatsu Azzurro, who made the same comment prior to the race after Hickman passed away in early March.

“It’s really pleasing to see so many of his crew being welcomed onto other yachts. Roger would be chuffed to know that,” she ended.

It’s not an easy race, with food supplies running low and out on those boats left racing. Some boats were jokingly asking for ‘food parcels’ to be dropped to them along with their mail, others are rationing what is left. One owner’s partner, on hearing the food was running low, texted him: “So are you drawing straws to see which crew member you’ll eat first?” The response: “The young ones go first.”

It won’t come to that, with conditions as they are, and according to the latest weather report, which suggests a cold front will cause a gusty south/south-westerly change today then changing north/north-west at 15-20 knots reaching 25 knots offshore.

For any who are still on the course in the morning, a 15-25 knot north-westerly.

Retirements now stand at 10 boats, after Ted Tooher retired his Beneteau 47.7 Chancellor this afternoon, citing time constraints.

All information on the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is on the official race website: goldcoast.cyca.com.au

Di Pearson, CYCA media

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