Boettcher returns as Audi Sydney Gold Coast entries close
Monday, 16 July 2012
At the close of entries for the 27th Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race on Friday, a high calibre fleet of 63, including South Australian Geoff Boettcher making a return to ocean racing with his Secret Mens Business 3.5, reigning champion Living Doll, podium regular, Loki and line honours record chaser, Wild Oats XI, will head north.
Heading the 50 to 55 footer line-up in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s first Bluewater Pointscore offshore race of the year, which starts on Sydney Harbour at 1.00pm on Saturday 28 July, is Secret Men’s Business 3.5, Geoff Boettcher’s RP51 from Adelaide.
“We’re ramping up for this race. Richard Bouzaid is joining us and it will be full-on all the way to Southport,” Boettcher said. “We’re looking forward to doing battle with the other 50 footers in this race because we don’t get much of opportunity to race one on one with these guys.
Boettcher has chosen the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race to make his return to ocean racing since winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race overall in 2010. Having been out of the offshore scene for 17 months, ‘Boettch’ will be taking on some serious contenders who have kept up their racing.
Among the contenders are reigning champion, Michael Hiatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll and Terra Firma, Nicholas Bartels’ Cookson 50 – and the two Victorians are keen to get one over all of their interstate rivals.
As to why he had been away from the sport, Boettcher said, “After our Hobart win, the crew wanted to have some time out, because our campaign was pretty intense since launching the boat in 2009.
“They’ve had their rest and came to me a few month ago itching to get sailing again, so here we are. We’ll compete in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and then leave the boat in Sydney and do a few of the CYCA’s blue water races.”
Boettcher is coy about committing to another Hobart: “I’ve said to the boys that I’ll do one more Hobart and then that’s it! Whether it will be this year or not, time will tell.”
The crew of Wild Oats XI will be attempting to turn the tide and make the number 13 lucky as they prepare for a third attempt to break the 13 year old Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race record.
When the fleet launches off the start line near Nielsen Park, Bob Oatley’s Sydney super maxi will need to have favourable conditions and average 14 knots to break Brindabella’s race record of 27 hours, 35 minutes and 43 seconds in the CYCA’s annual race.
Having been so close on two occasions, skipper Mark Richards is confident that the 100ft yacht is ready: “We’ve made some minor modifications to the boat to improve her light weather speed, and if we get the right conditions, we can add another race record to Oats’ trophy cabinet,” he said.
The bid for overall honours will be compelling to watch, with seven grand prix 50-52 footers and a strong pack of 40 footers among those capable of winning in the right conditions.
A handful of TP52’s, headed by the CYCA’s 2011 Blue Water Pointscore runner-up, Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin (NSW) and David Pescud’s SailorswithDisabilites (making its return to offshore racing after sustaining damage in the Flinders Islet yacht race last year), will are two of the trademark TP52’s.
Leading the 40 footers are two NSW yachts launched last year; AFR Midnight Rambler, Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Bencsik’s Ker 40, and Occasional Coarse Language Too, Warwick Sherman’s Sydney GTS 43, which will be joined by Chutzpah, Bruce Taylor’s well-tuned IRC 40 from Victoria and Andrew Hunn’s Cape/Barrett 40, Mr Kite, all the way from Tasmania.
A mix of Beneteaus and Archambault designs in the 40-45 feet range could also come up with the goods, such is the strong group of same designs.
On the larger scale, record holder Brindabella has been entered by current owner Jim Cooney, along with Peter Harburg’s RP66 Black Jack (Qld), under the control of usual skipper Mark Bradford and Stephen Ainsworth’s 2011 Hobart-winning RP63, Loki, the latter two also rating among the favourites in this quality fleet.
Ainsworth, a previous winner of this race and the 2010 Audi IRC Australian champion, is ready to head north. “The crew are itching to get racing again after a quiet couple of months. We’ve made no changes to the boat - she is as sleek as ever.”
Commenting on the number of entries, CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre said, “It’s fabulous to see another great fleet, proving the race’s popularity as a feeder race to other northern regattas, such as Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.”
“We’re pleased to see how dynamic the fleet is this year. There’ll be a really good battle to see who’ll be crowned this year’s overall winner,” he concluded.
Spectators are welcome to watch the start of the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. The 384 nautical mile course takes the fleet down the Harbour and out through Sydney Heads, before turning left to head to the finish line off Main Beach at Southport, Queensland.
MV Coast is the official spectator vessel for this race and tickets are still available so book your spot now by contacting Mark on 0458 888 830 or Kate 0458 888 831 or email: email@example.com.
The CYCA’s proven yacht tacker system will allow family, friends and yachting enthusiasts to follow the race and their favourite yachts for its duration. Each yacht will be fitted with a Yellowbrick tracker that will obtain a position using the GPS satellite network, and then transmit the position back to Yellowbrick HQ using the Iridium satellite network.
Each yacht’s position is then visualised on the race yacht tracker map, or overlaid on Google Earth. In addition, the yacht tracker system also shows distance to finish line and progressive corrected time positions under the IRC, ORCi and PHS handicap divisions.
By Jennifer Crooks, CYCA Media
Last Updated ( Monday, 16 July 2012 )