Now in it’s 10th year, the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race continues to attract some of Australia’s most competitive racing yachts.
It is the signature offshore yacht race of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The fleet currently stands at 37 yachts.
The 343 nautical mile race starts on Friday 5 August 2016 at 11:00 just east of Green Island on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay. The fleet will race along the pristine shoreline of Fraser Island before crossing the Tropic of Capricorn towards the finish near Keppel Bay Marina.
Competing for the fifth time is RQYS Member Rod Johannessen, Owner/Skipper of Drake’s Prayer, a Beneteau 40.7 named in honour of Sir Francis Drake, who is keen to improve on his third place in IRC Division two in last year’s race.
“This year is one of the biggest and most competitive fleets we’ve ever had for this race and our objective is do better than in 2015. The biggest challenge for me is always getting out of Moreton Bay as it can be very tricky in the tide especially when the breeze comes up,” Johannessen said.
Leading the pointy end of the fleet is the eight-time Rolex Sydney to Hobart line-honours winner, Sandy Oatley’s Reichel Pugh 100, Wild Oats XI followed by Peter Harburg’s V70 Black Jack (RQYS) and Duncan Hine’s Reichel Pugh 66, Alive, from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
The race record is held by Wild Oats XI who crossed the finish line in 2011 in just 24 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds.
For Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Vice Commodore Mark Gallagher this will be his tenth year of being involved in the race.
“While it might be a scenic and a spectacular race up the coast with plenty of whales breaching don’t be too dazzled by it all. It is also a very tactical race that is great offshore training for other ocean races like the Sydney to Hobart. The conditions can be very tricky and even the crews with plenty of local knowledge find it a challenge,” Gallagher said.
One very serious race tradition will continue and all finishing yachts will yet gain be presented with a fresh local pineapple and carton of icy cold beer by the Race Committee. The pineapple signifies that competitors have entered tropical waters by crossing the Tropic of Capricorn.
Joining Gallagher in this tradition will be RQYS Rear Commodore, Barry Cuneo and RQYS Sailing Committee Chair, John Warlow.
Seasoned Sydney yachtsman Bruce Foye will be aboard his Rogers 46, The Goat (CYCA) that he co-owns with Sebastian Bohm for another crack at the overall handicap. He is expecting a right royal battle with Steve Proud’s Kernan 44, Swish (RPAYC).
“This type of race you can do short handed and we are going with 10 crew not our usual 12. Swish is our major competitor .The sou’easterlies are also good for the fractional boats,” Foye said.
“I love the friendly vibe and the hospitality afforded to us by the Squadron and then later by the team Keppel Bay Marina, it is second to none. We are heading to Hamilton Island for the IRC Australian Championship anyway so it makes great sense to us to hone our skills during this race,” he added.
The Notice of Race has been published and online entry is still available.
Entries for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s 10th Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Race close on Friday 22 July, 2016.
by Lulu Roseman