First finishers in a historic and brutal Brisbane to Gladstone

Celestial was the first yacht across the Gladstone Harbour finish line at dawn on Sunday morning in what has been a historic but brutal 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race (75th B2G).

2022 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race overall winner and now line honours winner of the 75th B2G, Celestial’s owner/skipper, Dr Sam Haynes stepped off the yacht onto the dock and described this year’s race as “brutal” due to northerly wind conditions and violent storm cells.

Celestial heading to Gladstone finish line
Celestial heading to Gladstone finish line

Celestial finished the 2023 B2G in a time of 1 day, 19 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds, more than doubling the time they spent on course last year, when they broke the race record for the fastest conventionally ballasted yacht in a time of 19 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds.

As further evidence of how tough the race was on the yachts and sailors, Celestial was met on the dock by an ambulance who were required to attend to a crew member with suspected shoulder and rib injuries after being up the main mast attending to an issue with the main halyard.

Sam spoke on the dock about his experience during the challenging 75th edition of the B2G.

“We were getting a lot of squalls. There was a water spout travelling along beside us up near Indian Head,” Sam said.

“A lot of sail changes and a lot of different ways of coping with the weather were required,” he said.

“It was like a washing machine out there.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a line honours title in a significant race like this. This is really good for us. It is fantastic.”

Celestial’s finish was followed by Ocean Crusaders J-Bird III, the first electric boat to complete the race with female helm Annika Thomson, Maritimo 11 who currently lead on corrected time, Mayfair, Not a Diamond, Kerumba, Wedgetail, Hutchies Yeah Baby, LCE Old School Racing and Crankster.

Eight yachts were forced to retire on the first night of the race after sailing through two storm cells due to yacht damage, crew sea sickness or seamanship decision. Indigo II retired today just before the finish due to a torn mainsail taking the total race retirements to a tally of nine.

Celeste – which is on target to finish tonight – reported on Good Friday evening to have been hit by lightning and lost all electronics from the strike. The crew still had VHF radio connectivity and iridium so chose to continue.

Hutchies Yeah Baby were confronted with a mainsail issue upon sunset but got it back in their mast track and were also able to continue.

Queensland Cruising Yacht Club Commodore, Ian Gidlow said it has been one of the toughest races in the history of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.

“This year’s 2023 race fleet will go down in history for the 75th edition of our mighty race as having had to overcome everything from the calm to the storm and everything in between,” Mr Gidlow said.

“As we see the race fleet now finishing, it is looking more and more likely that one of the smaller boats in the race fleet will win overall on corrected time and put their name on The Courier-Mail Cup,” he said.

“At this stage the corrected time to beat is 2 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 2 seconds.”

Pagan II is at the back of the fleet and is expected to finish late this evening.

2022 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race winner, Celestial will be officially crowned line honours winner at the presentation on Monday morning, while the smaller boats are currently in the box seat for taking the Courier-Mail Cup, the win overall on corrected time.

FOLLOW THE RACE OVER EASTER WEEKEND – Keep up with all the 75th B2G race news by following the race on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brisbanetogladstone

Website and Yacht Tracker: www.brisbanetogladstone.com

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