• Slow start - Ben Davis pic
    Slow start - Ben Davis pic
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As expected, super maxi’s Black Jack and Wild Oats XI are leading the pack in the Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Race, but at 9.5-knots, it’s cruising speed only for these 100ft yachts and the rest of the pack.

No wind meant no chance of yachts jumping yesterday’s 11.00am start line. At 1.00pm, the fleet finally started, beginning a leisurely journey up the coast. At 7.00pm, the smiles started as the breeze became a 12-knot wind.

The majority of the fleet went past the halfway point, and sailing past Indian Head on Fraser Island mid-morning yesterday, travelling around 8.5 knots, in light north westerlies, with Black Jack and Wild Oats XI about one mile apart on their way to Keppel Bay Marina.

Squadron sailor, Mark Hipgrave, had plenty of time to reflect on the progress of the fleet: “It’s a tight race between Kerisma, Celeste and Crankster, he mused.”

“They are followed closely by Alive, Envy Scooters and Gweilo, which are travelling faster than expected, and Crankster, Mayfair somewhat slower than expected,” Mark said.

“It looks like the northerly has come early to the boats further south, so that might make their job harder to catch the faster end of the division,” he said.

Keppel Bay Marina General Manager Kylie Smith said she felt for the yachties. “They must have been more than a little frustrated. It was a real crawl off the Moreton Bay start line. They would have time to eat dinner and still get back up on deck as the winds started to pick up.

“We’ve heard from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Race Manager, Brady Lowe, that they’re all in really good spirits and we can’t wait to welcome the into the Finish Line Festival tomorrow at the Keppel Bay Marina.

“We’ll have Banana Station Beef waiting, with a Pure Gold Pineapple trophy and lots of cold Heineken.”

Nevertheless, it indicates that if all this continues, most entrants can expect a pineapple from Commodore Mark before sunset tomorrow.

Further information: www.rqys.com.au/events/brisbanetokeppel2018/

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