Stuart Bloomfield, the principal helmsman of Martin Riley’s super fast Australian catamaran Raw Nerve, thinks the record she set in the 2004 Brisbane to Gladstone race of 18 hours 55 minutes and nine seconds is going to be hard to beat and to do it the wind angles have to be perfect.
The 2007 race started in Easter Friday in Moreton Bay with a light east north easterly for the Crowther 50, which Bloomfield has modfied extensively for Riley in recent years.
Bloomfield recounts the race. "We used our new small gennaker off the start line and initially had a good break on the fleet. Then Considine’s APC Max and Keith Glovers Trilogy came up to us. As we went out to M9, in Moreton Bay, the left was favoured and Maxi and Trilogy passed us. As the wind increased, Trilogy started to fall back, we were swapping lead with APC Max until half way down the channel, then we began to pull away. Going up the coast we began to pull well away, we carried the big deeper gennaker all the all the way to Double Island Point, but were being gradually forced down towards Wolf Rock, we changed to the smaller sail and we climbed away".
"We were two sailing from near Indian Head up to top of Fraser Island, then round Breaksea, we carried the bigger gennaker, gybing down wind around Lady Elliott, then 20 miles from Fairway buoy, we reset our sails and two sailed reach to the entrance to Gladstone channel. The with a better wind angle we were able to get back to the bigger gennaker and power home. In 2004 we had high wind speeds for the second part of the race, but most importantly better angles. This race, with the breeze squarer, we spent a lot of time gybing, we checked and we found we did a total of 375 miles thru the water. To beat that 2004 record, we need plenty of wind and the right angles".
Given the fact that the 50 foot Raw Nerve has not been headed in this race over the last four outings and her record in an hour and a half ahead of the supermaxi Skandia’s Brisbane to Gladstone monohull record set also in 2004, there are a number of multihull sailors who claim Raw Nerve is the fastest Australian yacht.
Tony Bullimore’s Doha, the 102 footer soon to set sail from Hobart will be one of many international speedsters who could beat her, but with the word Australian in the claim, they could be right!