The Official Race briefing for the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race was conducted this evening from 1800 hours with over 160 people in attendance.
Rob Webb, Senior Duty Forecaster, Bureau of Meteorology, announced the conditions that the fleet of 75 yachts may experience over the race period. For the start of the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race at 1pm on Saturday 31 July, moderate west to nor’westerly winds of approximately 15 knots are forecast. The outlook for Saturday appears to be mostly fine with only a slight chance of a shower and a maximum temperature of 20C.
These winds will continue to build throughout the course of the afternoon reaching 20-25 knots offshore, possibly up to 30 knots. By 10pm on Saturday the breeze will shift west sou’west and stay in 20-25 knot range.
On Sunday morning lighter winds of 5-10 knots WSW will be experienced due to a ridge of high pressure. In the afternoon the westerly land breeze should push the trough back and bring more strength with it.
For Bob Oatley’s 100ft super maxi Wild Oats XI, the clear line honours favourite, these weather conditions are perfect for them to break the 11 year old race record of 27hrs, 35 mins and 43 seconds set by Brindabella in 1999.
Chris Links, tactician on suermaxi sailing yacht Wild Oats XI said “Our modelling is showing us that it will be a pretty fast ride for the first 10 -12 hours of the race. With a bit of luck we will be able to keep ahead of the lighter breezes as we head north and finish inside the current race record time by approximately 6 hours.”
For the team aboard Aroona, the current Audi IRC Australian Championship leader, they will be travelling without owner Harvey Milne, the forecast was as expected for them. Brett Filby navigator said “We are hoping to get the best result possible for Harvey. We have the same ‘Tow Truck’ team on board that placed second behind AFR Midnight Rambler, last year’s Audi Sydney Gold Coast overall winner, and who won IRC Division 2 in last year’s Hobart.”
Paul Clitheroe will miss another Bledisloe Cup match on Saturday evening as he sails up the coast but he is reasonably happy with the forecast. “We are a big fat Beneteau and as long as it’s over 10 knots I’ll be a happy man! The conditions will also suit Victoire but may be a bit difficult for the Sydney 38s. I’m also hoping that the extra waterline length I have over the Sydney 38s will get us to the bar ahead of them.
Racing will commence at 1pm on Saturday 31 July, from a start line at Steele Point, with Joe King, Dealer Principal Audi Centre Sydney, firing the historic 19th century replica cannon.
Withdrawals from the fleet since the close of entries include Equinox II, Merit and Vicsail Eugenie.
The CYCA’s yacht tracker system allows members of the public and media to track their favourite yachts throughout the race. Each yacht is fitted with an Inmarsat D+ transmitter, which automatically updates the yacht’s latitude, longitude, course over ground and speed over ground – and transmits that information via satellite and then onto the race website. In addition to showing each yacht’s position, the yacht tracker system also shows the distance to finish line, as well as its progressive corrected time position under the IRC and PHS handicap divisions.
Audi Australia together with ONE HD, Australia’s only dedicated free-to-air digital sports channel, will show highlights from the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race on Monday 23 August at 8.30pm on ONE HD, as part of the four episode wrap of the Audi IRC Australian Championship.
By Jennifer Crooks
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