Victorious Gold Coast Australia arrives in San Francisco Bay – 31 March 2012
After a gruelling 6,000 miles at sea crossing the world’s largest ocean, victorious Gold Coast Australia was the first yacht in the ten-strong Clipper Race fleet to sail across the finish line under the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of the toughest leg yet of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.
The crew of Gold Coast Australia has endured a series of bad luck on board, since they started Race 9 in Qingdao, China, 27 days ago, including issues with their mast caused by storm force conditions and a suspected broken leg endured by Queenslander Wayne Reed after he fell awkwardly during a Yankee sheet change nearly two weeks ago.
As they crossed the finish line, the Golden Gate Bridge, at 0216UTC this morning, the heavy fog lifted and it was an emotional sight for the crew of the Australian entry, securing their seventh win out of nine races. Upon arrival Tasmanian skipper Richard Hewson said, “What a proud moment. We won the race across the North Pacific Ocean, the roughest sea in the world.
“What a relief to get here after such a long time on the water. It’s been a really tough race and I don’t think we saw a day until yesterday under 30 knots with on-going relentless winds. I’ve never experienced these tough conditions in my whole sailing career. I’m really proud of my team, and despite losing key members to injuries, a small number of crew have worked very hard to keep motivated and keep the boat performing, so I’m delighted with our result.”
Arriving into Jack London Square, Oakland after sailing through San Francisco Bay in California the crew were welcomed by Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan, friends, family and locals. They were ushered straight over to a local restaurant, who kindly hosted a long-awaited American food feast of pizzas and beers – a welcomed sight after nearly a month at sea.
This leg is the longest of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The past 27 days have seen the amateur crew from all walks of life conquering the Pacific Ocean, as they have been hit by storms and waves the size of buildings, resulting in two medical evacuations and numerous injuries which will need to be treated on arrival.
Queenslander Wayne Reed, one of the round the world crew members from Gold Coast Australia, is one of them. While steady on his feet getting off the boat, the former Gold Coast resident was visibly still affected by his fall two weeks ago and will be ushered off to hospital.
He said, “The Yankee sheet somehow wrapped around my right ankle which is severely sprained, I have bad bruise on my right tibia, according to the nurses on board I have a fracture in my left tibia and I may have cracked a couple of ribs. As I have spent the last 14 days in my bunk, I can now hobble around, but I certainly won’t be doing any tap-dancing tonight and will have to go to hospital to get myself checked out.
“It’s been a tough race, but the team has been very supportive and helpful to get me through the last weeks. But now we are here, we’ve won, I’m upright and having a beer – so I can’t complain, but I certainly won’t be going tap dancing for a while.”