Botany Bay Race more than a victory for Great Xpectations

Rod Wills’ Great Xpectations went above and beyond this afternoon to beat Julian Farren-Price’s About Time for a win in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Botany Bay Race, the second of the Club’s Ocean Point Score Series – but today’s victory spilled over into something else for Wills.  

A member of the CYCA, Wills was targeting more than first place today. Given the all-clear after a bout with prostate cancer, the normally reserved Wills said today: “When I was at home recovering, I decided I needed to make people aware of this terrible disease, so I am going to do that via research and awareness and raising money for the Garvan Institute.”

Wills pointed out that prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australian men, and that one in nine will develop the disease, with around 3,300 dying each year. “It is a little talked about subject, so I’m speaking up,” said Wills who will mount a challenge for the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart to continue his awareness campaign.     

In today’s race, Wills’ X-43 yacht defeated Farren-Price’s Cookson 12 by just under two minutes on corrected time, and also won Division 2, with About Time claiming the top spot in Division 1. A second Division 2 boat, Dennis Cooper’s Sydney 36 cruiser/racer, Amante, was third overall. 

Great Xpectations owner was thrilled to beat About Time, which has been almost invincible for the last four years. However, Farren-Price reversed the trend under ORCi, beating Great Xpectations overall, with Amante third again. But Wills was thrilled to learn he had won PHS too, from Quetzalcoatl, Antony Sweetapple’s Don Jones designed 12.3m. Wax Lyrical, the X-50 owned by Les Goodridge was third.

“We didn’t let About Time and Pazazz (Rob Drury’s Cookson 12) out of our sights through the race, so we knew we were looking good for a win,” confirmed Wills, who felt the east side of the Harbour was the right way to leave the Harbour.

“We headed towards Watsons Bay and got a nice puff out of there, along with a push from the outgoing tide, so we took a few boats at Sow and Pigs,” he said.  

Leaving the Heads, Great Xpectations took a long tack out to sea, following About Time in a 10-12 knot breeze which was slowly clocking left to the south. “We had a nice run into the Botany Bay mark, where we saw Occasional Coarse Language (Warwick Sherman’s Ker Gts43), and used them as our benchmark for the run to the finish.” Wills commented.

Back inside the Harbour, heading to the Rushcutters Bay finish line, Wills said his boat reached 8½ knots in boat speed. “It was a great way to finish a beautiful day’s sail – and especially so because I have some new crew on board. They were pretty chuffed,” he said. 

Last week’s line honours winner, Paul Clitheroe’s TP52 Balance, once again battled for that prize with 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart victor, Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson), but this time it was a lot closer, with Balance out-sailing Victoire by a matter of four minutes and 14 seconds, crossing the Rushcutters Bay finish line in a 10 knot breeze which had trucked further south from the original sou’wester.   

As Balance sailed through the finish line at 14.36.21 hours, both Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46 Celestial, and Bob Cox’s DK46 Nine Dragons, had entered the Harbour, with the remaining yachts following in fairly quick succession.

If lacking slightly in wind strength at the start, crews could not have conjured up a more picture-perfect day; sunny skies, warm sun, and enough wind later to at least propel the boats around the course in good time.     

Robyn Morton, Principal Race Officer, said from the start boat this morning: “We got the boats away in a 7-8 knot south-westerly, but a short time later the breeze died a little and it took the fleet an hour or so to reach the front door,” she said of the yachts’ slow exodus from the Harbour and through the Heads.   

Going into Race 3 of the Ocean Pointscore Series, the Port Hacking Race on Saturday November 15, starting at 10.00am, defending champion About Time leads the IRC Pointscore from Great Xpectations by five points. 

For full results in all categories and provisional Ocean Point Score standings head to:

– Di Pearson, CYCA Media

Jeanneau JY55
M.O.S.S Australia
Race Yachts
Race Yachts