2014 Brisbane to Gladstone Race Report
By Chris Dewar
The lead-up to is Brisbane to Gladstone had a little more hype than previous years, this being the 50th Anniversary. There was the Old Salt’s luncheon, the 50th Birthday Party (the club will be 50 on the 1 Jan 2015) and all the media releases. Many, many thanks should go to Jim Stubbings for the effort he put into the publicity of this race. If you didn’t hear about this year’s race then you probably don’t know (or don’t want to know) what a multihull is.
The weather was looking uncertain with cyclone Ita crossing the coast of North Queensland weeks before the race was due to start. Unfortunately the low went well off-shore and there were predictions of no wind and largish swells.
At the start of the race there was a slight easterly breeze tending to ENE and unexpectedly built as the day went on.
The start (11:20am 18th April) was slow with Morticia crossing the line first followed by Bulletproof. By the first mark it was clear who was best suited for these light winds. By the first mark BOQ Team Australia was in the lead followed by Morticia. Unfortunately Cut Snake missed a navigational mark after the start and had to return to round it. Renaissance was lagging behind in the unusual last place (apparently they blamed a prop for not feathering). There were some great photos and video of Catalina and Renaissance racing up the coast with Catalina just in front. I hope someone bought these photos as it would be a shame not to be able to remind the Renaissance crew of this in the future.
By the 3rd mark the placings where BOQ Team Australiaand then Morticia still accelerating away from the fleet with Chill Pill in 3rd place.
BOQ Team Australia passed the leading mono Black Jack at about 3:30pm. As the rest of the fleet approached Bribie Island, Bulletproof caught Chill Pill with Fantasia and Cut Snake close behind.
Boss Racing then joined these group of 4 yachts as they approached Caloundra. As they approached Mooloolaba Chill Pill headed off-shore which let the other 4 boats get away. By the time they got to Coolum they had caught Bulletproof and by Noosa were in 3rd place. Positions changed as they reduced the gap to Morticia in 2nd place. During the night this group of yachts got within 2nm of Morticia.
BOQ Team Australia continued to steam ahead, as they passed Indian Head they continued to head offshore. This let the leading mono reduce the gap and pass them. They rounded Breaksea Spit ahead of the mono Black Jack and BOQ Team Australia’s superior boat speed saw them extend the lead again.
As the other boats battled for 2nd and 3rd place, Morticia, Fantasia, Bulletproof and Cut Snake hugged the coast as they reached the top of Fraser Island. Boss Racing and Chill Pill went a little further off-shore, resulting in them stalling in the light winds and tide and being caught by the rest of the fleet.
While the rest of the fleet struggled with the tide and light winds trying to round the Breaksea Spit mark, Morticia extended its lead and rounded the mark at 6pm Saturday, 4 hours ahead of the next yacht Bulletproof. As they headed for Lady Elliot Island Fantasia passed Bulletproof but Morticia maintained a three and a half hour lead.
The rest of the fleet were left behind just north of Fraser with no wind and a south-westerly flood tide. The tide changed to be more favourable but still no wind. It was starting to be too much for a number of yachts with Boss Racing and Attitude retiring first. By late afternoon Saturday the wind started to pick up. Chill Pill seemed to get the jump on the rest of the fleet with Hasta La Vista, Rushour and Rhythmic following. Catalina was left behind appearing to be further far off-shore than the rest of the fleet.
As they rounded Lady Elliot Island Renaissance and Chill Pill retired. Catalina, which was still stuck at the top of Fraser Island, also retired.
At the other end of the fleet BOQ Team Australia was finishing and Morticia was entering the Harbour to get a convincing 2nd place.
The highlight of my weekend was when PCSC took an ABC TV crew and me out to meet BOQ Team Australia enter the harbour and cross the finish line. It was blowing about 10 knots but the runabout struggled to keep up. BOQ Team Australia that just seemed to glide over the water. What an amazing boat. While out there I took this shot which I managed to get headlining on Sail-world.com. I still have a long way before they look as good as Jules’ amazing photos.
Fantasia and Bulletproof battled it out across the paddock separating themselves from Cut Snake.It went down to the wire with Fantasia taking 3rd place.
After Cut Snake, Rushour approach the finish line but ran out of wind and allowed McMoggy and Hasta La Vista to catch up. Hasta La Vista powered ahead of them all and finished in 6th just ahead of Rushour. By this time Rhythmic had caught up to McMoggy and they were both drifting in the harbour. McMoggy managed to find the wind first and finished just ahead of Rhythmic.