Friday 4th August was the start of the Brisbane to Keppel Yacht Race covering some 340nm up the Queensland coast as a feeder into Hamilton Island Race week. With 35 entries ranging in size and a weather forecast better suited to offshore water skiing, it was always going to be interesting.
The fleet got underway in a nice 15 knot south westerly breeze, and within an hour the 100 footer Wild Oats was out of site with the rest of the fleet praying or the wind to hold tight for a few hours. For some, those prays were answered! For a lot of the fleet ( including Auric Quest) they were not and the the Morton Bay yacht park was at capacity. After doing a max speed of 1.5 knots into a 2 knot current ( yes we went backwards at one point) Eventually a nice little breeze blew in and we were away.
The next 24 hours saw us travelling in a 10-12 knot south to south easterly breeze along Fraser island as we dodged the array of sea life in this area (Whales everywhere, dolphins everywhere, sea snakes, turtles and the best ………Manta Rays) as we neared the top end of Fraser the breeze gradually swung east and the North east and ending in the north as we turned left and headed towards Keppel Bay. A Lot of the fleet behind us got caught in a large hole that opened up of Fraser island and by Sunday morning the retirements were starting to roll in.
As we neared Capricornia Point the breeze started to die and before we knew it we were 30nm from the finish and our ETA suggested it was going to take us around 30 hours!!! Luckily for us we picked up a light north easterly and was able to hoist the light assy and cruise home doing 8 knots crossing the line at 2.10am on the Monday morning.
Over all victory went to Sam Haynes TP52 Celestial, with Mark Griffiths fast 40 Showtime coming in second and Wild Oats V1 third.
This race is very tactical and a lot of luck, but I would encourage anyone who has done it to get on board next year. is an amazing part of the world and over all good sailing. Next on the agenda is Hamilton island Race week. – Andy G.
Sorry we were late getting to this. – ed.