A fleet of 47 offshore racing yachts will line up to make sailing history when they contest Australia’s second oldest blue water yacht race – the Gladstone Ports Corporation 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race (B2G) which sets sail on Good Friday (7th April 2023).
Entries closed on Monday, 20th March with the milestone running of Queensland’s blue water classic attracting some of Australia’s best known ocean racing yachts along with a recently imported European yacht, the first ever electric yacht entry, one yacht competing in their 30th B2G.
Sailors and yachts which competed in past milestones such as the 50th, 60th and 70th anniversaries of the race are returning to the start line this year for the 75th edition.
The Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race (or B2G as it is affectionately known) is proudly presented and organised annually by Queensland Cruising Yacht Club (QCYC). The 2023 fleet will see 397 sailors race 308 nautical miles to Gladstone, with crews ranging in size from four two handed entrants through to the largest with 30 crew on board.
Yachts entered in the 75th B2G will head to the Brisbane start line in Moreton Bay from as far afield as the Netherlands, Sydney, Townsville, Whitsundays, Gladstone, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.
QCYC Commodore, Ian Gidlow says the 75th edition of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is likely to see some tightly fought tactical battles in this demanding coastal passage race.
“The 2023 fleet has attracted a broad mix of yacht entries and it is anyone’s guess who will take the ultimate prize of winning overall and putting their name on The Courier-Mail Cup,” Mr Gidlow said.
“Skippers and crews will be hoping for Easter trade wind conditions and a spinnaker start as we saw in 2022. However, as always, the B2G will test even the best sailors and the uncertain nature of yacht racing will play out where carefully crafted tactics and sailing can be brought undone in a split second by yacht or rigging failure or sail damage,” he said.
“Also up for grabs, the overall winner of the PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) Division will take home the Peter Holm Cup and a cash prize of $10,000 – believed to be the biggest cash prize for PHRF in Australian sailing.
2022 Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race start © Queensland Cruising Yacht Club
“We are incredibly proud of the unique history of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race and for the 75th edition, we can guarantee Brisbane’s Moreton Bay will be ablaze with sails, adrenalin and action on Good Friday when the 47 strong fleet powers over the start line at 11am.”
2022 Rolex Sydney to Hobart winner, Celestial – owned and skippered by Dr Sam Haynes – is the early race favourite. Celestial set a race record in the 2022 B2G for a conventionally ballasted yacht completing the 308 nautical mile race in 19 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds.
Maritimo 11, owned by boat building icon Bill Barry-Cotter, will be skippered by legendary Australian sailor, Michael Spies, who skippered the boat to line honours in the 2021 B2G.
Well known and loved Australian yacht Azzurro, now owned and skipped by Queenslander Jack Kliner, will also be a handicap contender in the race.
There are seven female skippers amongst the race fleet including Stephanie Kerin (Active Again), Kerry Noyes (Aramex), Saskia Groen-In’t-Woud (Celeste), Niamh Larkin (Jenesis), Annika Thomson (Ocean Crusaders J-Bird III), Taylor Rose (Puppet) and Sharon Boyle (The Muse).
Saskia Groen-In’t-Woud, who will be sailing her 8th B2G, has brought her yacht, Celeste all the way from The Netherlands especially for the 75th B2G. Celeste, who is nearly 50 years old and the same age as Saskia, is a Nautor Swan – considered in Europe to be the ‘Rolls Royce’ of sailing yachts and is the only Nautor Swan of her size in Australia.
Ocean Crusaders J-Bird III is one of two TP52s in the race and the first ever yacht to compete in the B2G with an electric auxiliary engine powered entirely off renewable energy. Ocean Crusaders J-Bird III also took out line honours in the double handed division of the 2022 Sydney to Hobart with skipper, Annika Thomson also achieving the accolade for being the first female skipper home.
The 75th B2G is featuring several youth sailors including some who have been granted dispensation from the usual minimum age requirement of 16 years due to their demonstrated talent and experience.
At 14 years of age, Addison Newlan will be the youngest sailor in the fleet, sailing aboard Maritimo 11 as part of her continuing involvement with Maritimo Racing to further her sailing career, with the 2032 Olympics one of her goals.
Other youth sailors include Maddie Wendt – 15 years old (Momentum), Saxon Dyke Groen-In’t-Woud – 16 years (Celeste), Bill McCart – 16 years and Jack Scharf – 15 years (both sailing on Night Nurse).
Bruce Farr designed boats have dominated the entries with eight of the popular ocean racing yachts entered including Crankster, Amaya II, Aramex, Blizzard, Son of a Son, Night Nurse, Puppet and Italian Job.
The smallest yachts in the fleet are the Farr 30s, Italian Job – a two handed entrant owned by Michael (Tom) Johnston, and sister ship Puppet, another two-handed entrant skippered by Taylor Rose. Taylor’s father David will also be skippering his Welbourne designed yacht Wedgetail to Gladstone.
The 75th B2G will mark the 30th time Restless has contested the race under three separate owners since 1992. Restless is currently owned and skippered by John Ibell from Gladstone, who is celebrating a decade of ownership of the Cape 35 yacht which won The Courier Mail Cup in 1996.
Fidelis – a 1964 model Classic Knud Reimers yacht and one of the largest entrants in the fleet, was last seen on the B2G start line in 1998 for the 50th anniversary race with the same owner/skipper, Nigel Stoke.
As a special on-water tribute and send off to the 75th B2G race fleet, a flotilla of Classic Moreton Bay Cruisers is headed to the start line via an official 9am sail past foreshore spectators on the Shorncliffe Pier and Bluewater Festival. The Classic flotilla of timber beauties will be led by the 75th B2G official start boats, Mohokoi and Norlyn.
Steeped in tradition and stature and proudly presented and organised annually by Queensland Cruising Yacht Club (QCYC) since 1949, the iconic 308 nautical mile 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.
Where to watch the 75th B2G race start (11am) on Good Friday
- On water: Boat owners and commercial charter operators are encouraged to join the colour, excitement and spectacle of the race start on the water. The start line is positioned offshore to the east of Shorncliffe Pier in Brisbane’s Moreton Bay. Spectator craft are reminded there is a strict exclusion zone which on the water will be marked by yellow exclusion buoys and exclusion zone mark boats carrying official orange flags. A map of the race start exclusion zone is available on the B2G website.
- On land: The foreshores between Shorncliffe and Redcliffe offer land vantage viewing spots for spectators. Key spots include Shorncliffe Pier/Bluewater Festival, Shorncliffe headland, Sandgate foreshores, Decker Park (Brighton), Ted Smout Bridge Fishing Platform (Houghton Highway Bridge), Woody Point Jetty, Scotts Point and Margate Beach. The race fleet turns around a buoy off Suttons Beach and Redcliffe Point.
- Live stream broadcast: There will be a two-hour live stream broadcast of the Gladstone Ports Corporation 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race start, commencing at 10am on Good Friday, one hour before the start of the race. Proudly presented by Gladstone Regional Council, the live stream can be viewed live and free on Kayo Sports – Australia’s premier on-demand sports streaming platform or 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’ 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.
by Andra Bite
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