Azzurro enters Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race under new ownership

Highly competitive pocket rocket yacht Azzurro is now under Queensland ownership and set to contest the Gladstone Ports Corporation 75th edition Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race (B2G) which sets sail on Good Friday (7th April 2023).

Azzurro’s new owner is Jack Kliner who swiftly made a deal to buy the boat from former owner and legendary Australian sailor, Shane Kearns on Constitution Dock at the conclusion of the 2022 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

The much-loved Sparkman and Stephens 34 (S&S 34) yacht, often touted the darling of Australian offshore racing, and according to the yacht’s website is “the little boat that could”, has had a rich racing pedigree closely followed and admired by Jack.

“Shane Kearns is a legend of sailing in Australia and a huge character within our sport but I have been following his campaign and kept in touch with him over the last few years. I am an ongoing admirer of his inspirational story of determination and dedication to prove how good this boat really is, so I have big shoes to fill,” Jack said.

“I had everything crossed that Shane would win the 2022 Sydney to Hobart overall with Azzurro and I wasn’t expecting him to sell the boat until he achieved that goal, but personal reasons forced an earlier sale so when I caught wind of it, I nabbed him dockside in Hobart to strike a deal and the rest is history,” he said.

“Shane’s restoration of Azzurro was immaculate with her rich blue hull, sparkling white deck and faultless stainless-steel fittings and even a carbon fibre toilet, the boat is a sight to behold and a proven contender in offshore racing in Australia. Better still, Azzurro was meticulously prepared for the recent Sydney to Hobart and comes with a very extensive sail wardrobe so other than a lick of antifoul, we are bursting at the seams to set sail in the 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.”

Jack, who is a member of Queensland Cruising Yacht Club (QCYC), personally sailed Azzurro up to his home base in Newport from Sydney using the delivery miles to acquaint himself and the crew with his new acquisition.

“Azzurro is my second S&S 34 yacht – the last one was Morning Star – and I have a strong affinity for these designs because they are super safe, very consistent, and just beautiful boats to sail – especially upwind. It’s not surprising they are the choice of solo sailors around the globe including Australia’s very own Jessica Watson,” Jack said.

“Azzurro’s set up is quite simple compared to other technologically advanced boats and is an absolute joy to sail with only four winches, three halyards and six clutches coupled with an additional carbon fibre rudder and tiller that allows us to keep up with the 40 footers in heavy conditions,” he said.

Jack is Azzurro’s third owner. Prior to being bought in 2014 by Shane Kearns then restored and raced with some impressive performances, Azzurro was previously campaigned with enormous success in the mid-80s and early-90s by former Sandringham Yacht Club Commodore, Rob White as Shenandoah 2.

When he isn’t sailing, Jack is a chartered structural engineer who designs marine infrastructure including ports, ferry terminals and wharves.

Jack will be joined on board Azzurro for the 75th B2G by an experienced crew.

“This will be my third Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race and I am very excited to participate in the 75th anniversary. Given it will be our first big race for our crew on board Azzurro, our priority is a fun and safe race but of course we will be hoping for the right conditions to push the boat and be competitive,” Jack said.

“Harry Blom, my 2IC has delivered boats around the world and sailed in most of the east coast regattas so it will be great to have his steady hands on deck,” he said.

There are now 38 entries in the 75th B2G with entries closing on 20th March 2023.

Steeped in tradition and stature and proudly presented and organised annually by Queensland Cruising Yacht Club (QCYC) since 1949, the iconic 308 nautical mile Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race (affectionately known as the B2G) is one of the oldest and most fiercely fought blue water yacht races on the Australian sailing calendar and one of the highest profile Easter sporting events.

The B2G was first held over Easter 1949 where seven vessels took the start line, two of which carried radios while Brisbane’s Homing Pigeon Club supplied pigeons for the other competing vessels to relay their positions.

Commencing at 10am on Good Friday and presented by Gladstone Regional Council, there will be a two-hour live stream broadcast of the Gladstone Ports Corporation 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race start that can be viewed live and free on Kayo Sports – Australia’s premier on-demand sports streaming platform or alternatively viewed on the B2G Facebook and website.

Further information about the Gladstone Ports Corporation 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is available by visiting www.brisbanetogladstone.com or following the race on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brisbanetogladstone and Instagram at @brisbane2gladstoneyachtrace

The race is celebrated throughout the Easter weekend thanks the Gladstone Regional Council’s ‘Easter in Gladstone’ https://www.gladstone.qld.gov.au/easter

The Gladstone Ports Corporation 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

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