GOLD COAST. For the second time in three years Shane Kearns' Komatsu Azzurro has powered to overall victory in the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2017, finishing in a corrected time of 3 days 1 hour 40 mins 25 seconds, 2 hours 36 mins and 23 seconds ahead of Ian Creak’s Beneteau 47.7 Ausreo, in second.
Komatsu Azzurro, an S&S 34, was the big beneficiary of Monday night’s wind shift from northly to southerly. Almost all of the faster boats finished ahead of that change. It meant the six-strong crew were able to set themselves for a race against time, a race they knew they were comfortably leading.
“It was a great race. The hard thing was knowing that we had a chance once Black Jack finished but we were still 150 miles from the finish so it was a long drawn out run to the line.
“During that time, as more boats finished we knew we were in with a really good chance and then the southerly did come in and that was great. Really good to get the win.”
Tactical options for the offshore race were fairly limited in the smaller 34-footer but Kearns knew he still had to play his hand right, “From the beginning we knew we had to keep in contact with the bulk of the fleet and to their dismay, and our delight, we did that. With the wind shift they couldn’t shake us and that’s how we got the result.
“With an average boat speed of 6 knots, the biggest killer for us would be 2 knots of current, that’s a 33% hit for us, so staying in close to the shore was key.”
The result is the second win for Kearns and Azzurro in the past three years and he believes it will shake any accusations of good fortune being at the heart of their victories.
“We were lucky enough to win it two years ago so we had big celebrations, people said it was a fluke but don’t know what they’re going to say for a double fluke! We’ve worked hard for this, lot of training, so we’re delighted it has paid off.
“This is the first race of the Blue Water and we’ll be doing all the races on the way to the Rolex Sydney Hobart, that’s the one we want to win next. People laughed years ago when I said that but they don’t laugh so much anymore!”
– CYCA Media