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All happening here (and there)

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 21 Apr 23:00 BST
Black Jacks - modified VO70 on the shipping dolly, and R/P100 supermaxi minus the rudder, but with the rig in. © Mark Bradford

Back in Nothing wrong with your eyesight, we looked at the Black Jack programme for 2019. Evidently, there is absolutely nothing awry with Roy Disney's vision either, for he has snapped up the former Volvo 70 to become the latest Pyewacket.

As we saw in that piece, she was already keelless, and sitting on her shipping dolly. However, instead of heading off to Europe, Black Jack 70 is now off across the Pacific to the West Coast of the USA. So yes, Disney and his crew will soon get to explore, and quickly learn to love her genuine performance credentials.

Speaking with the Skipper of Peter Harburg's famous campaign, Mark Bradford, after they were the first monohull home in the Brisbane to Gladstone race, he said, "We got there pretty quickly. It is rare for us to be beaten by a multihull, so it was good to see Gavin Brady and the crew of Karl Kwok's MOD70 trimaran take off. It is even more impressive to see a genuine racer here in Australia, and not just overseas, so when they flashed by we were thrilled for them."

"As for us, well we think the supermaxi is as fast as we can make her right now. If you take into account that last year the wind during the race averaged 25 knots, and then this year say it was more like 18, and yet we were only two minutes outside the B2G record, then it augurs well for us," said Bradford.

Right now that would make Harburg's Black Jack the most successful campaigner in that race, with eight wins. For sure that is with three different craft, and Apollo did seven in just the one, but it does show genuine commitment to the development of sailboats from the Harburg squad that includes Bradford of course, but also Alex Nolan, Liam Wolffe, John Flannery, and Bruce Clarke.

Campaigning around the globe has brought the Black Jack team many a result, and accolade. Yet it has not stopped there, for once sold, the vessels themselves have more than endured; they have flourished! The R/P66 took out last year's Hobart, and you can bet the modified VO70 will do the same. Even many of Bradford's former Etchells have gone on to do very well, and all of it is a point not lost on the great Tom King.

As for Bradford, he finished by saying, "...with the 70 gone, the focus now is on the 100, and this year's Hobart." Perhaps some of North Sails' latest downhill wardrobe will be on board, based on Scallywag's demonstrative performance in the Caribbean over the last little while. Cannot see anyone offering you more than 1:1 for that for some new rags to appear, but if they did, take it. Absolute shoe in, me thinks.

One outfit that did not fare so well in the very same race was Matt Allen's Ichi Ban. A former overall winner of the Hobart, the Botin 52 dropped her rig early on in the race, and thankfully no-one was injured when it gave way. A philosophical Allen commented, "We have not had to retire since about 2000, so I guess it was our turn once more. We are not totally sure what happened, but I can say that it all occurred very, very quickly!"

"It was blowing about 15 to 20 knots at the time, whilst we were reaching away on Moreton Bay in the flat water. We have two rigs, so the other one will now go in, and I guess we'll talk with Southern Spars about a new one. For now we'll use the offshore rig, so that our sailing programme stays intact." Look out Northern Queensland, but I think the CYCA's Blue Water Point Score, as well as the impending Sydney to Hobart will remain the team's primary focus.

"No-one was injured, and there was no other damage, so that is good. We did lose a main and jib in the process, however. Having a broken carbon tube with a jagged edge bouncing around is not sound, so we cut it away. We do have lots of skilled sailors on board to deal with it all, which is also great news."

"Last time this happened to me was in 1985 during the Admiral's Cup. We were on the Solent with wind against tide, with two slabs in, and the number four up. We asked the bowman to go and tighten the leech line on the headsail, and then the rig gave way. He yelled out immediately that it must have been too much. We motored off to Southampton where we had another rig and continued on in the cup," said Allen, as he took it all in his stride...

Right oh, here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about the Gilmour brothers going for Gold in Genoa, Five Ohs, intel from North Sails, Les Voiles de St Barth's, the World Cup, kiting, IMOCA's, The Ocean Race, the Clipper, the man and legend that is Sir Robin, RS:X windsurfer, World Match Racing Tour, RC44s, SailGP, Dragons, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow
Sail-World.com AUS

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