Ichi Ban declared overall winner of Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

Photo credit Andrea Francolini/CYCA

Matt Allen has sailed his TP52, Ichi Ban, to an extraordinary victory in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, crossing the finish line in third place, beating many larger yachts to the punch, as well as the other eight TP52’s in the race.

Ichi Ban finished at 7.05.26pm last night, not quite three hours adrift of Peter Harburg’s V70, Black Jack. Behind the TP52 were Rupert Henry’s JV62 Chinese Whisper, and New Zealand’s Giacomo, Jim Delegat’s V70. The other V70, Jim Cooney’s Maserati, finished nearly eight hours behind. Ichi Ban, while the next TP52, Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, was over six hours behind the winner.

Allen and his crew worked the tricky weather situation to their advantage, placing the boat in all the right places at all the right times, while the bulk of the fleet fell into every hole imaginable on the 384 nautical mile race course. Other top placings are yet to be confirmed with so many yachts still at sea.

Under the cover of darkness in the early hours of this morning, others started to trickle in, including the TP52’s, Koa (Peter Wrigley/Andy Kearnan), M3 (Peter Hickson), Triton (Michael Cranitch/David Gotze’s LC60) and the next TP52, RKO (Aaron Rowe) and others.

Geoff Lavis’ Inglis/Dovell 50, UBS Wild Thing is the latest arrival this morning, with Sebastian Bohm and Bruce Foye’s Rogers 46, The Goat II (it won this race as Celestial in 2014) the next boat due.

For the remaining 48 yachts on the race track, it will be a long day, or two, for some. Jenifer Wells, the navigator on William Bailey’s Cookson 12, Occasional Coarse Language One, spoke for the many left at sea, reporting from the yacht at 7.30am this morning.

“We were going really well an hour ago, we had The Sheep (Derek and Martin Sheppard’s Black Sheep) and others behind us, but now a whole heap of us are parked up at Evans Head. The breeze just started dropping out. We’ve got Bravo (Robbo Robertson’s Beneteau 40), Black Sheep (Beneteau 45) and The Goat (the Sydney 38 skippered by Mitchell Gordon) with us.

“A big portion of the fleet was parked up yesterday too. We spent quite a lot of time going nowhere, but we did quite well last night – we had a nice 6 knot north-westerly – we were travelling nicely.

“I hope we get out of here shortly. The current is quite strong, which isn’t helping anyone.”

But shortly after 8am, Wells was happier. “We just got 6½-7 knots from the north-west, so we’re off and running. We need to get to Ballina before the breeze dies out, or we’ll be in trouble again. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, it will happen at about 1pm – all the way from Ballina to Yamba…”

Retirements stand at nine boats, with no further retirements reported overnight. Eighteen yachts are finished and the fleet will continue to trickle in, although others face the prospect of at least one more night at sea. Philip Bell’s Olsen 40, She, is at the back end of the fleet, but all yachts are now north of Coffs Harbour in the slowest Sydney Gold Coast race in memory.

Di Pearson, CYCA media

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