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Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race has finally come to an end, with the last three boats, Takani (James Whittle), Ocean Gem (David Hows) and She (Philip Bell) crossing the finish line this afternoon – and hats off to them and others who finished throughout the morning for seeing this extremely long race through to its conclusion.

Takani crossed at 1.52.17pm, followed by two Southport Yacht Club boats, Ocean Gem at 2.11.42pm and She at 2.26.49pm. None were in time for the prize giving, but there were plenty of yachties on hand at the Club to cheer them in. The 31st running of the 384 nautical mile race, more so than usual, attracted its share of funny stories, and ‘what if’s. You always hear these anecdotes from the tailenders and those at the prize giving.

A favourite was that of Shane Kearns, owner of the defending champion, Komatsu Azzurro. And despite being stuck at sea for so long, arriving just in time for the prize giving, Kearns and his regular crew won Division four, and won ORCi Division three.

In a text message to the CYCA’s Assistant Sailing Manager, Stephen Craig, shortly before finishing, Kearns said: “Please close the windows to the sailing office if you ever see me approaching to enter a yacht race again! Give me a gale in Bass Strait to sail into rather than this agonising torture”.

Fortunately, yachties have very short memories.

Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race – Last boats make it into dock

Matt Allen owner of Ichi Ban receiving Overall Winner trophy – Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race © Michael Jennings

In another text, Simon Kurts, steering Love and War towards the finish line before 9.30am this morning, after a previous ETA had them finishing at 3am: ‘Please accept our apologies, as we are running a little late’.

Noel Cornish, a CYCA director and the owner skipper of St Jude commented: “It was an enjoyable but challenging race. It was exciting too, because it provided a lot of great competition between those in our Division (St Jude finished third in Division two). Many of us were together within 50 metres of each other – we rarely lost sight of each other – we almost match raced to Southport.

It was very tricky for the navigators, and Steve Kidson navigated St Jude for the first time. He did a great job,” Cornish ended.

Kidson had the added pressure of having to work with veteran helmsman/tactician, Ron ‘Jake’ Jacobs, who is a tough taskmaster.

“It was challenging navigating and I hadn’t sailed with Ron before, but eventually we worked in synergy,” Kidson, who also plays a duel role as Principal Race Officer for the CYCA’s Land Rover Winter Series and other events.

Nor could you wipe the smile from past CYCA Commodore, Geoff Lavis’ face. Lavis recently re-rated his yacht UBS Wild Thing from PHS to IRC, and this was his first offshore race. The end result was seventh overall and winner of Division two. It does not get much better than that, especially when you have your two sons along for the ride and have not competed in the race since 2011.

Greg Pugh from the yacht ‘Wot Eva’ will be thrilled to discover they had won the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race photo competition. Pugh took a stunning photo of the sun setting underneath their mainsail and had his fingers crossed it was good enough to win. You can view the photo on the official race Facebook page.

There were seven protests too, all relating to an incident in the Harbour off Watsons Bay soon after the start. The results of those protests are now on the official website.

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Takani – counting down the miles – 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race © Andrea Francolini/CYCA

The prize giving was held at Southport Yacht Club, the CYCA’s finishing partner in the race, where one and all are always given a warm welcome and encouraged to stay and enjoy a few drinks and a meal or two.

In a history making event, Southport Yacht Club’s first female Commodore, Kerry Noyes, and CYCA Director, Leander Klohs, represented the two Clubs at the midday prize giving, adding to the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Queensland Club.

Commodore Noyes thanked Land Rover Australia and the local Land Rover dealer, represented by Michael Thorburn, who was on stage to congratulate winners and award some trophies. The Commodore also thanked all the volunteers involved.

“The volunteers do a wonderful job,” she said. “We also thank the CYCA, winners and all competitors,” Commodore Noyes said.

Leander Klohs concurred and thanked Southport Yacht Club. “I also thank all the committees, race management team and the JBW Radio Relay Vessel crew. And congratulations to Matt Allen on an outstanding win (with Ichi Ban).

Ten boats retired from the 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.

by Di Pearson

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