Pictured: Redcliffe's Michael Andrew preparing his yacht Jenesis at Moreton Bay Boat Club for Friday's B2G.
Two of Australia’s greatest ocean racers will line-up with local entries, in the waters off Redcliffe, for the 74th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race (B2G) on Good Friday.
Supermaxis Black Jack and Ichi Bin, each with a crew of 15, have entered the iconic 308-nautical mile race which starts near Shorncliffe Pier, at 11am.
Alongside will be local boats Jenesis, Dream Lover and Italian Job, from Moreton Bay Boat Club (MBBC), at Scarborough - all going double handed (crew of two).
So too Apriori, which is from Newport Cruising Yacht Club, based behind the sports fields at Klingner Road.
B2G host Queensland Cruising Yacht Club at Shorncliffe, will be represented by four entries - Blizzard, Sassy, Skimmer, and Morning Star.
All will be seen by tens of thousands of spectators at the Festival of Sails on Suttons Beach and along Redcliffe foreshore as the fleet heads for Caloundra.
Race record may be under threat with 10-15 knot south-easterly winds forecast to Gladstone. Michael Andrews, owner and skipper of Jenesis, said those would be “ideal” conditions.
The Redcliffe resident bought Jenesis new five years ago and has entered the B2G three times, including this year, “to see what I could do and what the boat could do,” he said.
But only competed once, last year, in heavy conditions and with a crew of six, reaching Gladstone early on the Sunday morning. In 2020 the race was cancelled due to COVID.
“We’re looking to finish around the same time,” Mr Andrews said, “this isn’t really a racing boat, more for cruising. It’s safe and cozy.”
This year’s B2G has 38 entries ranging from family entries to top professionals – such as Black Jack, the first Queensland boat to take line honours in the Sydney to Hobart race.
Now in its third edition (the previous Black Jack race yachts were 66 and 77), the current Black Jack 100 is a 30 metre Reichel Pugh supermaxi.
It has taken line honours twice in 2018 and 2019 including holding the race record since 2018 of 16 hours, 53 minutes and 57 seconds.
“We face real competition for line honours this year against Stefan Hair so the onus will be on our crew to sail extremely well,” owner Peter Harburg said.
“Our goal is to always cross the line first but it would be particularly momentous to take line honours in the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race on the back of having just won line honours in the Sydney to Hobart.”
At 24 metres, Stefan Hair was expected to be the largest boat, until Black Jack entered. It was also hoping for 20-30 knot winds to challenge the record.
The friendly rivalry between Stefan Ackerie and Australian boat building legend, Bill Barry-Cotter will be back with the entry of Mauritmo 11.
Representing Southport Yacht Club, Cotter’s 16-metre, US-built Schumaker 50, which took line honours in 2021 in just over 25 hours, will be skippered by sailing's 'guru of speed' Michael Spies.
Ichi Ban, which won the 2021 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race overall and the B2G in 2017 and 2018 will also be a hot contender with veteran skipper, Matt Allen leading the way.
Kerisima, skippered by Christopher Larsen and Italian Job, with skipper Michael Johnston, have taken honours or placings in the past.
However, the reign of last year’s winner Wistari is in jeopardy after owner and skipper Scott Patrick fell recently and has a broken back injury.
The B2G race, which started in 1947, start will once be live-streamed and there’s an interactive Race Tracker to follow all the boats.
From the start, around two nautical miles east of Shorncliffe Pier, the yachts proceed via a mark off Redcliffe Point to the North West Channel up to Caloundra and through to Gladstone.
Further information about the Gladstone Ports Corporation’s Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is at brisbanetogladstone.com