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Australia’s Brisbane to Gladstone Fleet Races Amid Headwinds and Lightning Strikes

The 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Race (B2G), hosted by the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club, started on Good Friday (AEST) with a weather forecast for northerly winds and possible severe thunderstorms — both of which occurred. If you saw the footage of the storm that tore through the technical site on Day 2 of the Sydney SailGP, you’ll know that storms Down Under are often fast and furious. However, Neptune and the weather gods were in agreement, and the race concluded without major mishap or injury.

Of the 44 boats that started the race, nine retired due to issues ranging from torn sails to seasickness. Only one boat was unlucky enough to be struck by lightning: the Swan 38 Celeste. ABC News reported that despite losing her electronics, Celeste still had communications via her VHF and continued the race.

Brisbane to Gladstone race
Saskia Groen-in’t-Woud (front) and crew aboard Celeste.
© 2023

Line honors went to the TP52 Celestial, overall winner of the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Owner/skipper Sam Haynes told ABC that it had been a “brutal race due to extremely unusual conditions for this race … northerly winds and storm cells.”

Celestial crossed the line with a time of 1 day, 19 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds.
© 2023

It’s interesting to note the presence of Maritimo, the US-built Schumacher 54, which had previously won eight Rolex Big Boat Series races as Swiftsure II.

Another interesting feature was the inclusion of Addy Newlan, who at 14 was the youngest competitor in the race. She sailed with Maritimo Racing

Addy Newland (right) poses with Tom Barker, who did his first B2G at age12.
© 2023

You can find footage of the race start here, beginning at 44:39.

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