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the immigrant song

on board

the immigrant song

‘Twas the Tuesday night before Easter and the FTruck and boat are ready to head down the highway to the QCYC for our 6th Brisbane to Gladstone race. We arrive at QCYC at 0700h Wednesday, crane arrives and the mast stepped and boat lifted, and into the water. Tune the rig and load 130kg of Cat 2 safety gear on board. We are ready to race. Let’s go pick up the new chutes and jib top from Laura at DOYLE SAILS in Brisbane.

Good Friday brings a south westerly at 8 knots and by race start we have 12 knots from the south east. Forecast is for 20 knots by P.M.  Big hot breakfast and its game on!

We are 3rd over the start line and on Blackjacks quarter wake. This lasted 10 seconds and she was gone. 4 miles down the track to the first turning mark and we are 23rd in a fleet of 49. 2 sail reach and more big boats pass us. 29th at Tangalooma and bear away and the new Doyle built RBS MORGANS 100m2 Asymmetrical spinnaker goes up for its first taste of wind. We have 15 knots of wind and we are doing 12 knots of boat speed. Pass a few boats on the way and by the Caloundra Fairway we are back in 24th place.

The wind is now 20 knots at 140 degrees, RBS Morgans chute goes up and its goodbye to the Mumm 36’s and lots of 40’s. We skate up the coast at around 13 knots with bursts around 17 knots.  Starting to get a bit wet.

The wind freshens to 25 knots and we are overcooked with 100 metres of chute, so we change down to 90 m2 of red reaching A Sail. Back in control and speeds of 15 knots for 2 or more minutes. The wave angle gives us perfect surfing conditions. Nearing Indian Head and it’s getting harder to stop the wild broaches when the 30 knot gusts come through. Fordeckie, Mr Perfect, Kerry suggests the fractional BERG ENGINEERING asymmetrical spinnaker of 55 m2. Job done and the chicken chute is working fantastically. Steer where we want and no broaching. Speeds are constant 13 knots with bursts up to 20 knots. Can we put the jib top up in there somewhere? I am told what to do with my jib top.

We sail the length of Breaksea Spit with the chicken chute and even have the luxury of a hot meal of Lamb Kebab, Chicken Chow Mein and beef and vegies. They can make noodles almost taste realistic, and a Red Bull or 2. Arrive at Breaksea Spit light at daybreak Saturday and we have travelled about 200 miles in 20 hours. There are no sails in sight. The 0900h sched tells us that the Farr 40s are an hour ahead and we passed 14 yachts during the night. We are in 11th place.

Round the corner and we have 100 miles to go, 30 knots of wind at 120 degrees and a course to steer of 270 degrees. Do the sums and the 90m2 red reacher will do. This lasted about 5 minutes and the middle of the chute disappears. Retrieve the tapes and halyard and the heavy weather 90m2 A Sail should do the job now. Oh, for some hindsight. Straight up to 16 knots and we are surfing down waves, in the trough and up the back side of the next wave and then do it all again. We have the odd knock down and sometimes bury the boat in the wave in front. This is when the speed drops to 8 knots, everything loads up and over we go.  These Mumm 30s are tougher than a lion or Tiger.

Surfing at this speed has one crew grinding the spinnaker sheet and everyone else at the back of the boat. The boat is constantly awash with white water and the main sail rarely sheeted on very far. The wind seemed to build a bit, the mast instruments have been drowned, as we accelerated to 25 knots down a wave and then maintained 18 knots for a minute of more. Speed dropped back to 14 knots and it feels like the boat had stopped.

This speed range of 14 to 25 then seemed to be the “norm” for an hour or so, with the yacht tracking straight and on course for S2, the entrance to Port Curtis and Gladstone Harbour, but it was bloody wet! A few squalls came through but didn’t give any cause for concern. We just held a constant higher speeds a bit longer. Someone mentioned we should look for some more squalls.  We pass a yacht with bare poles and a rescue boat heading their way. The radio chatter tells us that all is in control with the disabled yacht and we can’t help. We are now in 10th place. JJ. Where are those Farr 40s’.

Around S2, drop the chute and up with the code 3 jib and mainsail for a reach down the shipping channel and around S12. Spinnaker up, miss S14, spinnaker down, punch 2 miles back to S14. Round it to starboard, settle down, calm the skipper and head for the finish line, gybing all the way down the harbour.

RBS Morgans Immigrant crossed the line at 1920h, doing 306 miles, (plus 4 miles to S14 and back) in 32h 20 m. The last 100 miles in 8 hours + 20 minutes for our mistake, this was the only mistake for the race.

Results are:

  • 3rd overall in IRC, and 32 minutes corrected behind Wedgetail and Blackjack, 21 minutes corrected. 
  • 1st in IRC 2. 
  • 2nd overall in PHRF and 5 minutes corrected behind Zulu Chief.  How far back to S2?
  • 2nd in PHRF 2,
  • Best placed PCSC yacht
  • The PCSC team of Piranha, Wistari and RBS MORGANS Immigrant were runner up in the Teams Event, being beaten by 0.5 of a point.

The RBS MORGANS Immigrant racing team is Jeff Paul, Janet Paul, Ray Hobbs, Kerry Millard, Dave Taylor and Adrian Pashley. The road crew is Ken Watson, Jim Thomas and Barry Austin.

Thank you Laura at DOYLE SAILS for the sterling effort of getting Casper and co organised to build 2 chutes at such short notice.

We really appreciate the support of our major sponsor: RBS MORGANS

 Along with:

  • BERG ENGINEERING….
  • GRAND HOTEL….
  • RED BULL…..
  • TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS
  • EAGLE CRANES and RIGGING

Without your support we could not achieve these results and compete at this level of ocean yacht racing.
Bring on Airlie Race Week.

Jeff Paul
[email protected]