Gripping finish to Sydney Gold Coast Race
In a gripping finish to the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, Queensland supermaxi Black Jack early this morning match-raced and beat Wild Oats XI by just under two minutes at the end of the 384 nautical mile race up Australia’s east coast.
Peter Harburg’s Black Jack finished at 07:26:20 in 6-9 knots of cool north-westerly wind, reversing last year’s finish order.
The victory is the first time the Queensland boat has beaten the Oatley family’s six-times Sydney Hobart winner Wild Oats XI in an offshore race.
Jim Cooney’s Comanche, the Sydney Hobart record-holder, finished third, having led the 54-boat fleet from the 1.50pm Sydney Harbour start until the final 15 nautical miles when the wind dropped out off the Gold Coast and the front four boats squeezed up.
“We didn’t win in the last half hour, we won yesterday,” Black Jack’s owner/skipper Harburg said ashore at Southport Yacht Club.
Looking ahead this year’s 74th Rolex Sydney Hobart, Harburg said “We are going to try and improve our performance upwind before this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. This boat has won a Hobart (as Alfa Romeo in 2009) but so have the other three big boats in this race.
Black Jack and Comanche are certain to contest the Rolex Sydney Hobart but no commitment has yet been made regarding Wild Oats XI.
All three supermaxis will be competing at Hamilton Island Race Week later next month.
Late today the battle for IRC overall first place in the Gold Coast Raceappeared to be between Victorian Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40 Chutzpah and the classic S&S34, Komatsu Azzurro (Shane Kearns).
Words: Lisa Ratcliff/Peter Campbell
Photos: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
30 July 2018