Record time

Beau Geste sets the record at the inaugural Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race.

05 August 2019


First to finish the inaugural Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race was Karl Kwok’s ocean-going MOD70 Beau Geste, which completed the 530 nautical mile race in a time of 1 day 2 hours 11 minutes 41 seconds, at an average speed of just over 20 knots. This makes the giant trimaran the multihull race record holder of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s newest bluewater event.

Karl Kwok’s international crew of six, led by long-time sailing master Gavin Brady, sped across the Dent Passage finish line, adjacent to Hamilton Island’s yacht club and deep-water harbour entrance, in the same south-east trade winds the fleet set off in on Friday 2 August at 1100hrs, lighter at the start increasing to 20-30 knots offshore.

“We had nice warm water sailing, which is good because this is a wet boat,” said Brady. “Navigationally there was a lot of manoeuvring, then there were reefs and other shallow spots – all which come up very quickly in these boats.


“We did a lot of night sailing. We didn’t push the boat too hard at night, just kept it at a top speed of 26 knots, though we did have our biggest nosedive since owning the boat. In the day we pushed it harder, sometimes our speed-over-ground was around 35 knots. The rule of thumb on this boat is not to go 10knots faster than the waves, otherwise the boat starts pitching into the waves in front.

Wild Oats X, which finished first monohull home in a thrilling Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race.

Posting an elapsed time of 1 day 10 hours 46 minutes 53 seconds, Wild Oats X crew finished the same way they’d spent most of the race – wet – thanks to a late night Whitsundays downpour. South-east trade winds create excellent sailing conditions but also bring sudden showers, and while holidaymakers are ruing the lack of swimming weather this weekend, the six crews who’ve arrived are grinning.

At Hamilton Island Yacht Club late Saturday evening, Oats’ skipper Glenn Bourke said: “It was a fantastic race for us; maybe we’ve set a record that won’t be broken for a long time. We had breeze behind us the whole way. It was stressful, windy, hard work, fast – and so exciting.”

Navigator Adrienne Cahalan believes this new annual race, created by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron with the cooperation of Hamilton Island, is going to be a popular one.

“For a navigator it was really challenging, no sleep and so many important decisions to make that can make or break the race. It was pretty straightforward for us given we had the same breeze direction the whole way but in the future there will be big decisions to be made,” she said.

Matt Allen’s JV 52 Ichi Ban was declared the IRC overall winner of the inaugural Lendlease to Hamilton Island Yacht Race.

Sailing for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, Ichi Ban finished first 52-footer across the line and beat Barry Cuneo’s TP52 Envy Scooters (RQYS) by less than half an hour on handicap. Third on the overall standings is Matt Donald and Chris Townsend’s Gweilo, another CYCA based TP52.

Ichi Ban’s sailing master Gordon Maguire summed up their race perfectly: “It was an interesting race, the best of the year so far! I think we got done over as much by expectations as we did by the conditions. We were expecting sunshine and tropical islands with palm trees – instead we got a s*** storm.”

Matt Allen recapped today: “It was a really quick, exhilarating race – a navigator’s delight. Some of the boys are pretty sore; you are always sore when you finish a Sydney Hobart and we are as sore today. Only one and a half days of sailing but in somewhat similar conditions.”

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