Celestial sights on blue water classic

Published 7:00am 26 February 2023

Celestial sights on blue water classic
Words by Nick Crockford

Celestial, winner of the 2022 Sydney to Hobert Yacht Race, will be back in the fleet sailing past Redcliffe’s foreshore on Good Friday, from 10am.

It is one of 28 entries, so far, for the 75th Brisbane to Gladstone (B2G) Yacht Race which starts at Shorncliffe jetty at 11am on April 7.

Celestial, owned and skippered by Sam Haynes, set a B2G record for conventionally ballasted yachts last year, covering 308 nautical miles in 19 hours 24 minutes 52 seconds.

That broke the record held by Bobsled (Robert Bird/Kerry Spencer) since 1993 for their course time of 21 hours, 59 minutes, and 43 seconds.

Haynes said the B2G experience - particularly Celestial’s downwind performance in 25 knots - proved “valuable” in the Sydney to Hobart when Celeste was the overall winner.

“The crew – our helmsmen, trimmers, grinders, the whole team had to work hard to sail on the edge and flat out for the entire course to achieve that record,” Haynes said.

Celestial sights on blue water classic
Celestial on the start line for last year's Brisbane to Gladstone. Picture Sarah Motherwell

“Fingers crossed for a similar forecast this year. We learnt a hard lesson not taking our reaching strut last year for the B2G.

“As such, we’re preparing our strut and learning our sail combinations with it in preparation for the B2G with a training block organised to get the team prepared.

“Last year I saw how the B2G is arguably the most fun race in Australia with regular fast downwind conditions, warm weather, a full moon and great scenery.

“The race gives us another opportunity to push the boat in its favourite mode with plenty of water over the deck and action through the night.”

Celestial is one of two TP52s entered, so far in Australia’s second oldest yacht race, run by Queensland Cruising Yacht Club at Shorncliffe.

The other TP52 is electric converted renewable energy yacht Ocean Crusaders J Bird III, out to prove there’s no need for diesel engines to go sailing.

Celestial sights on blue water classic
Michael Andrews, skipper of Jenesis, pictured before last year's race.

Maritimo has entered their Schumacher 54, but are rumoured to be working around the clock to prepare their new TP52, Maritimo II, for the blue water classic.

Celeste, a 1974 Nautor Swan 28, imported from the Netherlands by owner/skipper Saskia Groen-In’t-Woud, will be making its offshore racing debut in Australia.

Jenesis (Niamh Larkin and Michael Andrews) is among the early entries from Moreton Bay Boat Club, at Scarborough.

The B2G was first held over Easter 1949 with seven, two carried radios while Brisbane’s Homing Pigeon Club supplied pigeons for the others to relay their positions.

There will be a two-hour live stream broadcast of the 75th B2G live and free on Kayo Sports.

For more on the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race visit brisbanetogladstone.com; Facebook facebook.com/brisbanetogladstone and Instagram at @brisbane2gladstoneyachtrace

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