In a 5-10 knot building nor ‘east breeze on Sydney Harbour this morning, the 40-boat fleet packed-out boat-end at the start of the Bird Island Race, Comanche and Black Jack leading the way out of the Heads to the small island north of Sydney.
One of the last race’s before the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race provided strong competition for all, with some competitors on the start line for the first time along with four TP52s: Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, Sam Haynes’ Celestial, Peter Wrigley/Andy Kearnan’s Koa and Matt Donald/Chris Townsend’s Gweilo.
Shadowing the TP52s closely was David Gotze/Michael Cranitch’s LC60 Triton, with Hugh Ellis’ recently purchased RP63 Voodoo and Sean Langman’s newly-christened RP 65 Naval Group. All are using this race as preparation for their 628-nautical-mile journey to come on Boxing Day.
None will be watching each other as closely as the three super-maxis. Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s Comanche overtook Pater Harburg’s Black Jack as they race past Bateau Bay, only 12 miles from the turning point.
Christian Beck’s InfoTrack, was left behind, but was hunting the others day after leaving the Heads.
At the smaller end of the fleet, some very close racing is also being had, including Blue Water Pointscore champion, Patrice, the Ker 46 owned by Tony Kirby. Cabbage Tree Island winner, St Jude, the Sydney 47 owned by CYCA Vice Commodore, Noel Cornish, was also there.