Ti­tans to clash at Hamo Race Week

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

AF­TER rac­ing on op­po­site sides of the world for al­most a decade, two of off­shore sail­ing’s best known su­per­maxis will be vy­ing for top hon­ours at Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week and for the first time both will be com­pet­ing un­der Aus­tralian colours.

The Oat­ley fam­ily’s record break­ing Wild Oats XI will be chal­lenged by Bris­bane yachts­man Peter Har­burg’s lat­est ac­qui­si­tion, Black Jack 100, in the se­ries which is sched­uled from Au­gust 19 to 26. Iron­i­cally, the two 30-me­tre yachts started life as near-iden­ti­cal Re­ichel-Pugh de­signs, and were built in the McCon­aghy Boats fa­cil­ity in Syd­ney in 2005.

When launched, Black Jack 100 was named Alfa Romeo and owned by New Zealan­der, Neville Crich­ton, who has resided in Syd­ney for many years. Af­ter be­ing beaten for line hon­ours by Wild Oats XI in the 2005 Syd­ney Ho­bart race, Crich­ton re­turned to the clas­sic with the same yacht in 2009 and was first to fin­ish. Alfa Romeo was then sold to a Euro­pean owner, re­named Esimit Europa II, and cam­paigned with con­sid­er­able suc­cess in the Mediter­ranean.

Peter Har­burg pur­chased the yacht ear­lier this year and had it shipped to McCon­aghy’s where it is be­ing up­graded. He is plan­ning to con­test the Syd­ney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July then head to Hamil­ton Is­land for the show­down with Wild Oats XI at Race Week.

“Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week will be an im­por­tant part of our prepa­ra­tion for this year’s Ho­bart race,” said the yacht’s sail­ing master, Bris­bane sail­maker, Mark Brad­ford.

“We have as­sem­bled a re­ally strong crew, in­clud­ing Olympic gold medal­list and Amer­ica’s Cup win­ner, Tom Slingsby, so we’re look­ing to give Wild Oats XI a run for her money.”

While the clash of these ocean rac­ing maxis will be a high­light at Race Week, the com­pe­ti­tion among the “minis” and the mul­ti­hulls will be no less in­tense. Of the near 140 yachts al­ready en­tered, the small­est is the 6.6 me­tre long trail­able yacht, Rhumb­maid, owned by Ben Harper, from Palm Cove in North Queens­land.

There are more than 20 mul­ti­hulls en­tered to date.


BIG GUNS: Alfa Romeo will go head to head with Wild Oats XI.

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