This morning crews of the 62 yachts contesting the 2015 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race attended the final weather briefing by the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) Sarah Chadwick before making final preparations ahead of the 1pm start today.
Listening to Chadwick describe the forecast for predominantly westerly winds, relatively flat seas and sunny skies for the race at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia this morning, there were only smiles as crews put the cold weather of the last weeks behind them.
According to the BOM, the 30th edition of the 384 nautical mile race will be mainly sailed off the breeze and filled with sunshine by day, but be cold by night. Sunday will be make or break time, when lighter winds inshore may entice some offshore for stronger winds. Most are saying this is where the race will be won or lost.
At the pointy end of the fleet, Peter Harburg, owner of the V70 Black Jack, was very relaxed. “I’m really looking forward to it, it will be a good test for us against the 100 footer,” said the Queenslander referring to the battle ahead with Perpetual Loyal.
Harburg and his skipper Mark Bradford are also looking forward to testing their recent modifications to the off the wind flier, which were undertaken to make the boat faster in lighter airs. Looking at the forecast, the weather will be perfect for testing that theory.
“It’s great to see the sun out and I think it’ll be a very pleasant race that anyone could win,” said yachting veteran Ian ‘Barney’ Walker, one of Tony Kirby’s afterguard on Patrice.
On St Jude, CYCA Director Noel Cornish has an interesting mix of crew. “I think I have the youngest and oldest crew members in the fleet. Nineteen year-old Emma May, from the Club’s Youth Academy, is aboard again, having crewed the yacht in last year’s Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart. At the other end of the age spectrum is Tony Cable, who has raced 49 Hobart races and is hoping to make it 50 this year.
“I think Cable will learn a lot from Emma and the other younger crew on board,” crew member Donald Graham said, amid laughter. Cornish just smiled, but agreed the race would be an interesting one tactically.
“This will be the first time some of the crew have sailed together and I’m looking forward to having Tony Cable aboard, he will have a lot to offer. The race will be tactical, especially on Sunday in the light breeze,” Cornish said. “But the 10/15 knot north-westerly at the start will be a big improvement on last year’s start when we had next to no wind,” he added.
XS Moment’s owner, Ray Hudson said: “The forecast should suit us I think the back end of the fleet should do well, with strengthening winds bringing them home quickly. The weather forecast is such that anyone could win, really,” he said.
Aboard Great Xpectations, Rod Wills has more than the race on his mind. “I have mounted an awareness of Prostate Cancer campaign, along with raising funds for The Garvan Institute of Medical Research. We are getting sponsorship and donations which go directly to The Garvan specifically for Prostate Cancer Research,” Wills said this morning.
Apart from looking at the big picture, PHS contender, warfare with Rod West’s Painkiller Forte is on Les Goodridge’s (Wax Lyrical) agenda.
“I’m an ex-Navy commander and Rod is an ex-Army colonel – so that’s the big battle – we have a bet on,” a determined Goodridge commented.
The Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race starts today at 1pm on Saturday off Nielsen Park on Sydney Harbour, and finishes at Main Beach, Southport.
Family, friends and enthusiasts can follow the race and their favourite yachts via the CYCA’s proven yacht tacker on the official race website.
by Di Pearson