We did it! After 256 days of sailing around the world we won our final race and completed our race and circumnavigation around the world!
This year has been phenomenal. Challenging, rewarding, satisfying and totally unbelievable. Gold Coast Australia has had a podium finish in every single race and we have won 12 out of the possible 15 races. Hard work and dedication throughout the year has proven a very good campaign that has resulted in a well trained, happy and dedicated crew, a well maintained boat which have combined together to prove a victorious combination.
The final race basically combined the entire year into a three day sprint where everybody racing skills and seamanship were challenged and proven. The race started in near gale force conditions, and as we lead the fleet beating our way our of Denhelder with the crew on the rail we could see the other yachts around us were not going to make it an easy race. Every yacht in the fleet seemed determined to be the first yacht back to Southampton. The wind was strong for most of the first day, and then gradually moderated to what would become one of the calmest and tactical race in history.
The lead changed so many time in the race it was impossible to count. Gold Coast Australia took the lead four times throughout the race, and at times fell back to last place before taking the lead again. Every time we climbed back up the leader board we would be knocked down the ranks again by sailing into wind holes, hooking lobster pots around the keel, and making tactical errors based on lack of local information. By midday on the final day of the race as we were sailing the elastic course south of Brighton I was almost certain that Singapore and Edinburgh were going to be near impossible to catch, and only hours from the finish I thought that our chances of victory would be slim but never gave up. Some how, through hard work, persistence and dedication the team from Gold Coast Australia managed to scrape away the metres separating the boat, take ourselves into the lead and slowly coast our way across the finish line.
The feeling of finishing our race and campaign around the world by the firing of Suhali’s cannon was uniquely unbelievable. As a skipper after three days of almost no sleep I still believe that at a personal level this race around the world has fulfilled my dreams to sail around the world, but who knows when these dreams will be completely satisfied. I think I am now addicted to sailing around the world.