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Sydney Gold Coast Race by Andrea Francolini

Quantum Racing has crossed the finish line to take line hours in the 334 nautical mile 2008 Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race!

The predicted west/sou’westerly winds have arrived and are helping the remainder of the fleet arrive in Southport. At 2000 hrs over 35 boats had arrived in Southport, with the remainder of the fleet expected to arrive steadily overnight with the last boat expected to cross the finish line at approx. 5.30am.

Included in this afternoon’s arrivals were Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Mens Business 3, Stephen Ellis’ Splash Gordon and Paul Clitheroe’s Balance.

Geoff Boettcher is a happy man. His new boat Secret Mens Business 3, which was one of the fleet’s brand new boats survived the trip north. “I am pretty happy with the little girl. We put her in the water as the paint was still drying and we have had and are still on a long learning curve with her,” said Geoff.

“We are really testing her out every time SMB3 takes to the water. We pushed hard in this race. We went out to sea with the rest of the fleet but we probably stayed out there too long which cost us a few places in the end.”

“The crew have had a ball – my regular crew together with some additional members from Victoria and NSW have had a lot of fun racing in this division with the TP52s.” concluded Geoff.
Stephen Ellis, owner of Splash Gordon was a pretty tired but happy man. “This was an extremely challenging race in which we experienced a variety of conditions – from dead calm to winds of up to 40 knots,” said Stephen.

“It was a pretty ordinary race for us until we got hit by two fronts on Sunday evening – one at 4.30am and the other about 0730 -0800. During the first front we had to reef our main quickly and then put up the storm jib to avoid sail damage. With the second front, we were sailing in gusts up to 40 knots with an A3 spinnaker and a full main when we broached and had to pull all sails down again.”

“We were also contending with a rudder bearing problem, which meant we were taking in water for most of the race. In the end, one of the crew members had to stay down below and work with the bilge pump and a bucket to get rid of the water (which was coming in at approx 2 buckets per hour),” added Stephen.

For Paul Clitheroe, owner of Balance, he had rolled the dice on Saturday afternoon and took the decision to go wide, with the next roll being when to come back inshore. Offshore, Balance was sailing along quite nicely and maintaining good boat speed before getting caught in the thunderstorms.

“That was one of the most intense thunderstorms I have seen in a long time, said Paul. “The lightening lit up the night sky – but being in the middle of a lightening & thunderstorm with an aluminium mast is something that when it hits – you know that it’s one place that you don’t want to be and it’s paramount to ensure crew safety.”

“Before I started the race, I was told by my crew not to break anything – but unfortunately we are one spinnaker down after it was shredded! Ocean racing is not a good way to make money – but it’s a great sport!”
The crew onboard Pla Loma IV are applauding one of their crew members Michael Whyte, after he went for a swim to untie the brace that had got wrapped around the propeller after they were hit by a thunderstorm cell. During this cell, the crew experienced winds of 46 knots, thunder and lightening. Pla Loma IV also lost steerage after the strops jumped the quadrant. “After all the carnage, we survived quite well, with very little damage – fixed steering and the next morning unravelled the brace and continued on to Southport,” said Julie Hodder, onboard Pla Loma IV.

By this evening, it was confirmed that Ray Roberts’ Quantum Racing had won IRC overallin the Sydney Gold Coast Race to go with his line honours win earlier today with Quest second and Cockatoo Ridge – The Goat third.

Upon being notified of his win, Ray Roberts was naturally pleased. “When we knew that we were in the lead, we thought that maybe we could just achieve the double – line honours and IRC overall, but with such a class fleet and the conditions changing we couldn’t be too confident – so we just had to wait it out. The crew will be ecstatic – so now with this one under our belts, it’s off to Airlie Race Week and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week to see if we can continue our winning form.” said Ray.

PHS provisional results show John Simpson’s Shark Face is currently holding first place ahead of Sea Quest and Obsession.

It will be a busy night for the finish team at race control and the staff at Southport Yacht Club with the remaining 25 yachts still racing due to finish the annual 384 nautical mile race by approximately 5am tomorrow morning. Fourteen boats have officially retired from the race.

The fleet’s progress has quickened today thanks to a strong sou’westerly breeze which is pushing the remaining boats up the NSW far north coast and into Queensland waters to the finish line in good time.

Sydney Gold Coast Race

Sydney Gold Coast Race

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