Written by Jeni Bone
08 August 2022
Rex took line honours and was the first multihull to finish at 3.07pm on Sunday 7 August, followed by Andoo Comanche at 3.58pm, and close behind, Black Jack and Hamilton Island Wild Oats.
According to Race Director, Mark Gallagher, the three maxis raced neck and neck for the start on Moreton Bay off Manly, to the Breaksea Spit on Fraser Island and beyond, for first 24 hours of the race, which commenced Friday 5 August from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS).
“They were so close for much of the race, you could have thrown a blanket over them,” he said.
Mark has been Race Director for two editions of the Race, the inaugural event in 2019, and this year’s. “It was a very slow race,” he continued. “There was no breeze, and consequently, no records set.”
Four yachts retired: Not a Diamond on Friday afternoon with electrical issues returned to Brisbane for repairs and is now en route to Hamilton.
Yeah Baby had steering issues and pulled into Gladstone. Ocean Essence is in Bundaberg with sail damage and She headed to Keppel Bay to re-provision.
At 8am Monday morning, Mark reported they were expecting the catamaran, Rushour to arrive by about 9am.
The Australian Drew 15 catamaran had just returned from New Caledonia, where it took line honours in the 7th edition of the New Caledonia Groupama Race.
“Leading the two-handed division is The Italian Job which still has 24 hours to go. Then later this afternoon or evening, we’re expecting the tail end boat, Northshore 38, Negotiator, a two-handed entry to arrive. They still have 262 nautical miles to go.”
Skipper of Rex, Dale Mitchell said the win was “unexpected, but extremely satisfying.”
“The forecast didn’t suit us, with the light weather. We took different race tracks from the maxis, but it was still cool to see their tactics. Sailing against three maxis is very special anywhere in the world, let alone at home in Australia.
“We took a different route from the maxis, more inshore. We spent a quiet Saturday night with no coverage, so we couldn’t track the other boats. It was heart-in-mouth racing. We didn’t take the lead until late in the stages, around Gladstone.”
After a well-deserved celebration on the marina, the crew will head home, which for Dale is Airlie Beach, before returning to Hamilton Island for the Presentation Ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Joe (Black) Akacich, Team Manager for Andoo Comanche, who wasn’t among the crew for this race but will head up to Hamilton Island for Race Week, said the crew was pleased with their Line Honours in the monohulls.
“Absolutely they’re happy, but this is just about settling the boat in. The Great Race, Hobart is the main goal. That’s what we’re attempting in the first year and the same thing again in 2023.”
At one stage, the three maxis were bobbing in the blue with no breeze. “Some boats were going backwards with the current,” said Joe.
“But once the breeze got up in the early part of Sunday morning, just south of the Bunker Group, after a tough night, she just took off. Gone!”
Now, moored at Hamilton Island, the celebrated maxi will undergo a post-race check. Some crew will depart, heading back to Spain, some to Sydney, and some will stay and train for Race Week.
Event organisers anticipate holding the Presentation Ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, subject to the arrival of the bulk of the fleet and the backmarkers.
The 600-nautical mile Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race is one of Australia’s longest tropical category 2 offshore yacht races.
Naming rights sponsor is The Yacht Sales Co., race sponsors, Club Marine, Robert Oatley Wines, and destination partner, Hamilton Island, and the charity of choice is Making Waves, formerly Sailors with Disabilities.