Local heroes

The 73rd edition of the Brisbane to Gladstone was a fast and furious reintroduction to offshore racing with a perennial local favourite bettering her bigger rivals.

09 April 2021


Everyone loves an underdog story and yachting supplies more than its fair share – case in point this year’s Easter dash from Brisbane along the Queensland coast to Gladstone.

Held during the often transitional autumn wind patterns, the race can be alternatively a light airs torture test, or a white knuckle ride past various islands and shoals before one of the most character testing gybes of your life off Breaksea Spit – inevitably in big breeze at night.

This year it was one for the true believers at Gladstone’s Point Curtis Yacht Club who welcomed one of their own, Scott Patrick, home as overall winner of the 48 strong fleet.

His father Noel built the 56-year old 10.7 metre Wistari with bits and pieces he gathered from around the port city.

“The hull’s made out of war surplus ply that was used to make mosquito bombers,” Scott recalled. “The deck was made out of the cheapest ply he could find.”


But Wistari held together when multi million-dollar supermaxis were succumbing to the fresh conditions which saw gusts up to 47 knots on the racecourse.

Race record holder Black Jack was travelling nicely mid-race under a jib and several reefs in the main when according to skipper Mark Bradford ‘the mast fell out of the sky’. Fortunately no-one was injured but it was an indication of the sea-state that resulted in the crew struggling to keep Wistari barely under control.

Her skipper recounted one very close call to the ABC: “The scariest moment was Friday night as we were flying into the beach at Double Island Point.

“The boat was pretty much submerged … we had water going over the whole deck, down the companionway, filling my bunk and everything in my locker got full of water.

“We really did punish her. We ripped out one winch, I headbutted one of the windows and broke one of the windows,” Scott said.

An excited throng of supporters welcomed the battered yacht home and later the celebrations kicked into gear when it was confirmed Wistari had secured her fifth overall win in the Queensland ocean racing classic – equalling the enviable record of Saltash II.

Scott acknowledged his was thinking of his father when he accepted the Courier Mail Cup and the superior design that gave them the edge. “The design Dad did, it gave us a boat that was ridiculously fast against its rating, even after 56 years,” he reflected.

Along with Black Jack, 11 of the 35 yachts that entered retired from the race which even the locals admitted was ‘pretty hard’.

Bill Barry-Cotter’s Maritimo took line honours in the 308 nautical mile race after a marathon battle with Mayfair a Rogers 46 owed and skippered by James Irvine of RQYS.




  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement