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Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race - The more hulls the merrier    
Thu, 28 Mar 2013

The Allyacht Spars Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull Yacht Race for 2013 is heading off at 11.20 am from Shorncliffe this year. We are again sharing this end of the bay, and for the first time in years also sharing the startline with our monohull brothers who leave at 11.00 am. With any normal Easter weather pattern I would be looking forward to passing the guys on the first start, but this year the wind pattern is a bit tricky to plot such an attack.

With a light southwester at start time, we will all be bobbing around searching for good kite angles and waiting in trepidation for the fresh, but hopefully not too brief, 20 knot southerly storm change coming from the south. As with many Gladstones, the first night will dictate the order for the rest of the race, and the winning crew will be on the boat that can stay upright and in the breeze for as long as possible before it goes east and drops back to nothing on Saturday night. The next 24 hours of a slowly building northerly will then determine who gets the gold, but any boat that gets to Lady Elliot Island for a hard turn to port is going to have a very happy crew for the 75 mile (screacher please Hughie) reach from there to the entrance to Gladstone Harbour. I bag that watch on the tiller!

The fleet of nine multihulls reflects the drop in numbers in the monohull fleet to 26, these races are an exercise in logistics and the dollars needed are continuing to reduce the fleets. It is no secret that both organising clubs are looking seriously at how to bring back the big fleets that I remember from my first Gladstone in the 80's.

The fleet quality is there however, with more diversity than ever before. The stalwarts like Gary Saxby’s Boss Racing which has taken line honours in 2010 will be lined up to do it again in the absence of the ORMA 60 ‘ trimarans that have been attracting the crowds lately. A smaller but stealthy looking new SeaCart 30 aptly named Morticia will be trying to put a spell on the other boats. These all-carbon boats really fly.

The challenge overnight for the new owner Shaun Caroll will be to sail fast and upright after the only other sistership recently flipped in Bass Strait and at last report was still drifting around awaiting salvage.

The Raiders always push hard for OMR handicap honours, and Roger Overell will have his usual gun crew driving his Lightwave Raider hard on the wind line.

Cut Snake is another serious handicap challenger, a boat that looks more comfortable than fast, she has recently been optimised and owner Rob Dean is excited to be back on the start.

The new boat to our shores via New Caledonia that has caused some disruption to river traffic in front of Billy Wright’s Bulimba shipyard is the classic trimaran of Jason Gard. Spirit won the round Britain and Ireland race in 1998 so has great pedigree. Her long and thin hulls certainly look the part and a little mullet just told me that in a light wind screacher test in the bay today this boat passed the Seacart!

I am looking forward this year to an occasional stint at the blunt end of McMoggy, she is a kiwi built comfortable racer/cruiser with a lot of carbon and a glamour carbon rotating mast which by itself is worth more than all my old boats put together. Owner Alasdair Noble has been sneaking a bit higher up the score boards lately after grabbing a lot of the loot in Airlie Beach and Magnetic Island Race Weeks last year, so I am sure he will be flogging the whip (now that sounds like Morticia?).

In any case, boats of all types will be out there enjoying the ride north. I can’t write anything about sailing this year without sending a greeting to Stripey Grant recovering in hospital this year instead of pumping out the frenetic phrases that we all love to quote while hanging on to the bar. Stripey, we won’t be able to blister the paint off the decks as we blast along Fraser this year, but I promise to nip any tuck that crosses us on the start.

Get well old friend.

Yellow Brick Tracker at can be used to follow the fleet.

by Peter Hackett

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