In the mean time, Down Under

23rd Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2008

The 384 nautical race, which began at 1pm on Saturday from Sydney Harbour, had everything – a delayed start, with light breezes, then a wind change as the fleet exited the heads of Sydney Harbour, strong winds offshore on the first night down with bitterly cold temperatures, inshore westerlies and offshore sou’westers which forced make or break decisions by the tacticians; stunning lightening shows offshore, wind squalls of 40 knots, and lastly, a fresh west sou’wester which picked up the second half of the fleet and hurtled them to Southport. Whales, dolphins and flying fish provided momentary distractions from racing but the big decision all skippers and navigators had to make was whether to go offshore or stay inside the rhumbline. Those that took the offshore decision were the first home.

The original fleet of 75 representing Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales set off with spinnakers hoisted in a blaze of colour on Saturday afternoon and close to 63 hours later 61 boats had finished.  Three boats retired due to damage sustained on the first day and night with gear breakages.

A further ten boats retired from the race due to anticipated weather conditions and damage. One of them in the early hours of Sunday morning is Wot Now, the former 2007 Glory, forced to retire due to rudder damage having been sustained whilst off Port Stephens.

Line honours and IRC Overall was confirmed as Ray Roberts’ Quantum Racing, with Quest second and Cockatoo Ridge – The Goat third on IRC Overall.

TP52’s were well represented in the top places:

1    Quantum Racing    Cookson 50     IRC 0      Ray Roberts           

2    Quest    TP52 (ex Bright Star)          IRC 1       Bob Steel           

3    Yendys   Reichel Pugh 55                IRC 1      Geoff Ross           

4   Shortwave TP52 (ex Cristabella)      IRC 1      Matthew Short           

5  Ragamuffin TP52 (ex Morning Light) IRC 1     Syd Fischer           

6    Cougar II  TP52   ( ex Rush)              IRC 1      Alan Whiteley