The hopes of a “threepeat” victory for Ichi Ban in the 308nm Brisbane-Gladstone Race ended just 30 minutes after the start when their carbon rig decided it had taken enough punishment and gave way near the first cross-tree. The crew cut the mast away rather than risk damage to the boat in the squally conditions.
Ichi Ban, a supercharged Botin 52, won the race on handicap in 2017 and 2018.
A week before the start owner Matt Allen told the local media that he considered the Brisbane-Gladstone to be “the most enjoyable ocean race of all”. Maybe now, not so much.
It would not be helping Allen’s mood that Envy Scooters, his previous Ichi Ban, sailed very well and looks likely to win the event on IRC this year. On the plus side, Allen has a back-up mast that can be fitted well before the Sydney-Southport race, the next major event on the Australian offshore calendar.
Line honours went, yet again, to the veteran Reichel-Pugh 100-footer Black Jack. Peter Harburg and his team missed bettering their 2018 elapsed time record of 16.53.57 by a matter of seconds.