Celestial in box seat for Sydney-Gold Coast handicap honours

Sam Haynes has sailed his Rogers 46, Celestial, to what looks to be an unassailable position to win the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race this morning. 

Celestial, which moved into first place in the 384 nautical mile race at approximately 5.30pm yesterday, taking the lead from Patrice, finished shortly after 4.00am this morning. On board, enjoying his first ocean race is Haynes’ 16 year-old son Will, a product of the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy and the youngest person in the race this year.

Forty three of the 55 competing yachts remain at sea, the bulk between Grafton and the finish line. Most are sailing in a light 5-6 south-westerly breeze, which is expected to move to the west/north-west this morning with no more than 10 knots in strength. It would take a miracle for any to reach the finish line to beat the time of Celestial, which is also the present ORCi leader.

At 8.00am, Queensland’s V70 Black Jack, which finished last evening, was sitting in second place overall, with Wild Oats XI, which took line honours yesterday, in third. These two positions can still change if some on the course sails to their full potential.

Patrice, which led the race overall until Celestial took control, is the latest boat to finish, Tony Kirby helming his boat across the Main Beach, Southport finish line at 7.18am this morning.

David Pescud’s TP52, Wot Eva-SWD (Sailors with DisAbilities) is the next boat due across the line, at approximately 9.30am, followed by Steven Proud’s Swish, which was looking good in the standings yesterday. Most of the fleet will trickle into Southport Yacht Club throughout the day.  

She’s the Culprit, with crew from Lake Macquarie and Newcastle, has taken over the lead in the PHS class, which Tasmanian entry, Helsal 3 has called her own until early this morning.

Last Tango remains the only casualty from the race that America’s Cup and Olympic sailor Iain Murray described from Wild Oats XI as: “A lovely reaching race on flat seas – it doesn’t get much better.”

The CYCA’s proven yacht tacker system is allowing family, friends and yachting enthusiasts to follow the race and their favourite yachts for its duration. Each yacht isfitted with a Yellowbrick tracker that will obtain a position using the GPS satellite network, and then transmit the position back to Yellowbrick HQ using the Iridium satellite network.

Each yacht’s position is then visualised on the race yacht tracker map,or overlaid on Google Earth. In addition, the yacht tracker system also shows distance to finish line and progressive corrected time positions under the IRC, ORCi and PHS handicap divisions.

– Di Pearson, CYCA Media

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