76 entrants raced out of Sydney Harbour in a light south-easterly wind that arrived just in time for the start.
The 10-knot breeze allowed for an on-time race start on a spectacular Sydney winter’s day. The fleet played their part and the Race Committee called a clear start. The fleet then set their spinnakers with their sights set on the Gold Coast.
The flurry of yachts sailed in a train formation as the wind swung around to the south east, meaning that spinnakers had to be dropped as they approached South Head, before racing towards the ocean in a sprint to re-hoist them.
Chinese Whisper and No Limit were neck-and-neck down the harbour before Chinese Whisper decided to drop their spinnaker earlier and take a shorter line to get out to the ocean. It was No Limit who continued on for a minute longer to take a fast angle.
Ichi Ban had a competitive start against the 60-footers, however made the decision to gybe away from the fleet half-way down the harbour, where they gave away a lot of distance to the other 10 TP52s in the fleet. It was Envy Scooters who trailed the larger yachts out of the harbour, closely followed by fellow TP52 Gweilo.
At the final race briefing this morning, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Gabrielle Woodhouse confirmed that the light south-to-south-westerly winds will be dominant for the next two-and-a-half days. The wind is expected to slowly increase to 15 knots as the front-runners approach the Hunter region and up to 20 knots near Newcastle on the NSW mid-north coast.
Stay glued to the race tracker on the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast website as the fleet sails their 384-nautical-mile journey to the finish line off Main Beach on Queensland's Gold Coast.
The Noakes Sydney Gold Coast is the opening act of the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, which includes the momentous 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Stay tuned to goldcoast.cyca.com.au throughout the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race for the latest on the great race north. You too can get involved with the conversation on social media using #NoakesSydneyGoldCoast – and send your tips, pics, copy and content to the CYCA media team via email@example.com. Additionally, the CYCA and SYC media teams will be covering the line-honours finish of the race - be sure to stay glued to the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Facebook page for coverage!