This year saw 9 entries. However, this year favoured overnight racing and consequently 3 entries by Shane Kearns from Australia continued in his usual style by winning the 2019 Challenge Cup.
Remember that the racing in 2018 is what can qualify for the 2019 prize, the Challenge Cup.
Winner of the Challenge Cup
Skippered by Shane Kearns
Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race
28 July 2018
On Saturday 28 July 2018 the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia started the 33rd Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, an event that is second only in status to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race among long ocean races conducted by the Club.
The 384 nautical mile race has attracted fleets of between 70 and 80 yachts each year, with entries coming mainly from New South Wales and Queensland, but also from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand, and Shane Kearns was once again amongst the challengers in Komatsu Azzurro, a SS 34.
In 2018 Komatsu Azzurro managed a class win in the Grupama Yacht Race and in the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2018 Komatsu Azzurro managed class win IRC div 4, class win ORCI div 3 and overall win in ORCI.
Shane Kearns with Komatsu Azzurro is a worthy winner of the S&S Association Global Regatta and the Challenge Cup will be presented at the S&S Association AGM in Finland 14 – 16 June 2019.
Azzurro was raced with extreme success in the mid 80s and early 90s by Ron White and his family out of Sandringham Yacht Club, when the boat was called Shenandoah 11.
Among their numerous successes was a divisional win in the 1994 S2HYR with a faster finishing time that the winners of the two divisions above them.
Veteran Sydney based sailor, Shane Kearns came across her in Queensland in early 2014, unearthing a jewel in an idle and sadly unloved state. To say she had seen better days was an understatement.
However, Kearns was unable to dismiss the classic and evocative Olin Stephens lines, bought the boat on his credit card for $23K and kicked off a major resurrection project, restoring pride and respect to this feisty little S&S 34. Add a great crew from the late John Walkers Petersen 34 Impeccable and this boat was ready to go hard!
With the restoration still underway the day before the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, she made a spectacular debut finishing 3rd in her division and setting a new S&S 34 race record of under four days for the race.
In July 2015, Azzurro continued to improve by winning the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in both IRC and ORCI overall.
Azzurro had a great race in the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race finishing 3rd overall in IRC and winning both ORCI overall and the Corinthian division. In 2016, now sponsored by multinational mining machinery company KOMATSU Australia, Komatsu Azzurro won both her IRC and ORCI divisions in the slowest Sydney Gold Coast yacht race in memory.
Azzurro had a great race in Perpetual Loyals record breaking 2016 S2HYR, finishing 13th overall IRC and 6th overall ORCI, 3rd Corinthian division, as well as 2nd in her IRC division and 1st in her ORCI division.
Azzurro completed the 628 mile course in 3 days 15 hours, beating several much bigger boats across the finish line and again lowering the S&S 34 race time to Hobart.
In her first race of 2017, Komatsu Azzurro again won the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race placing 1st in both IRC and ORCI overall. With a recent long stint overseas racing in the PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race and the Groupama Race the team is eager to get back and defend their title.