WILD WIN: The Wild Oats crew celebrating at the end of the Sydney Hobart race three years ago. The late Bob Oatley is seated in the middle and skipper Mark Richards is on his right.
WILD WIN: The Wild Oats crew celebrating at the end of the Sydney Hobart race three years ago. The late Bob Oatley is seated in the middle and skipper Mark Richards is on his right.

Black Jack back to battle Wild Oats XI for line honours at Keppel Bay finish line

FRESH from last week's Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast yacht win, Wild Oats XI and runner up Black Jack are set to battle it out again in a race to the Keppel Bay Marina.

Keppel Bay Marina General Manager Kylie Smith said the win by Wild Oats XI was sure raise the rivalry stakes even more between the two teams in this week's Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race.

"At the Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast last weekend Wild Oats XI only beat Black Jack to line honours by just 3m 31s. That's pretty tight. It will be a great race to watch if it is that close again," Kylie said.

Owner of Black Jack, Peter Harburg, agreed with Kylie but was hoping for lighter conditions in the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel.

"Black Jack has entered every Brisbane to Keppel Race with the first one being the first start for the first ever Black Jack. We're looking forward to the competition," Harburg said.

It's a sentiment Black Jack Skipper Mark 'Squark' Bradford echoes as he and his crew look forward to racing Wild Oats XI again.

"The competition will be fierce as always...we have a healthy respect for each other and as new kids on the block we hope to continue to apply pressure,” he said.

"The Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast was the first run for us to test out all of our new fittings. Given we were making modifications to the boat right up until the boat left the start line of the Sydney to Gold Coast and still managed to come second, gives the crew a good shot at the Brisbane to Keppel Race.

"Knowing that we can race under those untested conditions, and taking what we have learnt from the Sydney to Gold Coast race means that we can keep the competition fierce and are worthy contenders in the Brisbane to Keppel."

Wild Oats XI's skipper, Mark Richards said Black Jack were the contenders to watch especially after the close Sydney to Gold Coast battle.

"It was an awesome race; one of the best. It was a fight from start to finish, they managed to get past us three times but we clawed our way back when it mattered," Richards said.

What matters to the Wild Oats XI crew now is backing up to race again at the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel and they don't think the conditions will be as light as the Black Jack crew are hoping for.

"This year looks like being upwind so we'll all need to stay on our toes in the conditions up in the Keppels. Downwind, like it was last year is a case of hang on and go hard but upwind well that's extremely tiring. "You stay on deck 24/7 and there'll only be sleep standing up for our 20 or so crew," Richards said.

"We're hoping we might be able to break last year's 16h 56m record but it could be tricky. Forecast weather is light head winds which means we're expecting a great race with Black Jack yet again just like we experienced in the race up Sydney to Gold coast, hopefully with the same result.”

Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) have confirmed that besides the two-well known supermaxi's the 33 yacht line up will consist of local, interstate and this year a new international competitor, the United States 86-year-old Sparkman & Stephens classic yacht Dorade.

The yachts leave Brisbane this Friday at 11am and they usually start crossing the finish line from late Saturday with the majority of boats coming in Sunday.

To secure your seat at the finish line you can make a booking at The Waterline Restaurant by phone 4933 6244.

For more information on the race and to watch the yacht tracker live visit http://www.rqys.com.au/b2k-about-the-race or their facebook page www.facebook.com/brisbanetokeppel.



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