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Land Rover Sydney GC Yacht Race - Perpetual Loyal in action
Perpetual Loyal powering off the wind© Andrea Francolini / Audi

Land Rover Sydney GC Yacht Race 2015 – Perpetual Loyal in action

Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2015 – Anthony Bell has sailed Perpetual Loyal into a 22 nautical mile lead over Peter Harburg’s Black Jack in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2015 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race this morning.

The 100 foot super maxi was sailing inshore at 13 knots, east of Solitary Island at 8am. At this stage it is estimated to finish after 6pm this evening, well behind Wild Oats XI’s record of 22 hours 03 minutes 43 seconds, set in 2012.

As anticipated, the new kid on the block, Chinese Whisper, is holding her own against all comers. Rupert Henry has sailed the JV62 into third place on line, some 30nm behind the Mark Bradford skippered Black Jack, and is dicing between fourth and fifth overall.

Meanwhile, Roger Hickman’s 30 year-old Wild Rose is leading the charge for overall honours. With Ian Creak’s Beneteau 47.7, Ausreo second and the Richard Williams skippered Sydney 38, Calibre, sits in third place. However, there is still a long way to go and positions are expected to see-saw regularly.

Aboard Wild Rose, navigator, Jen Wells commented: “We’ve got a bit on at the moment; we’ve got our hands full.”

Roger Hickman explained 15 minutes later: “It was blowing 15 from the west and suddenly got 25 knots. It looked like everyone around us was running off to New Zealand, trying to quickly pull down spinnakers, jib tops and whatever else they had on. We could see Ariel, Abracadabra, Komodo, Occasional Coarse Language One and others turn 45 degrees abruptly and trying to pull their gear down. We had a little broach ourselves.

“It’s terrific to be able to see the boats around you. For those you can’t see, you can watch on the tracker – it brings a new dimension to the race. Last night we were feeling pretty good about ourselves, sailing along at eight knots, when we looked at the tracker and saw Perpetual Loyal doing 23 knots. We were flabbergasted and it deflated us pretty quickly,” he said.

The 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner said they chose the wrong route out of Sydney Heads. “We decided to follow Perpetual Loyal and Ichi Ban’s track, but it didn’t pay for us, but once we settled down outside, things were back to normal.

“It’s a beautiful morning now – a vivid red and orange sky, I was lying in my bunk and I could see the outlines of the mountains and we’ve seen a whale, it’s wonderful,” Hickman ended, keen to get to a hot toasted sandwich and a cuppa.

Land Rover Sydney GC Yacht Race - Perpetual Loyal in action

Victoire leading Frantic (behind Victoire sail) and Wild Rose© CYCA Staff

Ichi Ban, the former Shogun V recently purchased by Yachting Australia president, Matt Allen, is fourth on line. It is the leading TP52 in the fleet, with Gordon Maguire skippering in Allen’s absence. Navigator Will Oxley reported at 7.45am: “Nice fast reaching conditions early last night, but a few light patches early this morning slowed us up a bit. It’s a tricky day ahead, so we’re working hard to get north of Smokey Cape before it shuts down.”

Despite leaving Sydney Heads last yesterday, Rod West has sailed Painkiller Forte, a Jeanneau 45.2, into first place in PHS. She is being chased by She’s the Culprit (The Culprit Syndicate). The Lake Macquarie boat finished second overall last year and co-owner, Glen Picasso, made it clear before the start that “We are gunning for top honours this year and heaven help anyone who stands in our way.” The ‘Lake’ Culprit crew is well known for its ‘fun factor’ and friendly rivalry.

The forecast shows a freshening westerly ahead of south-west change developing along NSW coast today and early tomorrow for Port Danger to Broken Bay. For Smokey Cape to Seal Rocks, a west to north-west of 15-20 knots, tending west/south-west in the evening reaching up to 30 knots offshore, south of Port Macquarie. Up to Smokey Cape, winds will be west to north-west at 10-15 knots, tending west/south-west in the evening, reaching 20 knots offshore in the early evening.

The bulk of the fleet is sailing south of Port Macquarie. Peter Mosely’s modified BH36, Local Hero, is last on line, sailing 59nm east of Sugar Loaf, but has company of at least three others within a 5nm radius.

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

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