In a fresh sou’easter and doing 18 knots of boat speed, Grundig Xena blazed towards the Sydney to Gold Coast Race finish line with her bright red spinnaker fully stretched, but in the end, she couldn’t crack the race record.
As yacht club officials rushed to have the finish line in position for the line honours boat and media vessels motoring alongside struggled to keep pace, the nine crewmen on the Open 60 worked overtime, willing the boat to go faster across the paddock off Southport's Main Beach.
Grundig Xena's finish time of 13:50:21 put her just 15 minutes outside Brindabella's race record of 27 hours 35 minutes 3 seconds, set two years ago.
Once the sails were lowered, skipper Sean Langman reported they had blown their largest spinnaker on the first night, forcing them to head inshore to change down to a smaller kite. "In the end, this probably cost us the record," he admitted.
"We would like to have the record as an extra but we are happy with line honours and maybe a divisional handicap win," he added. This is Grundig Xena's first major line honours win against her "old rival" Brindabella (George Snow).
The Sydney maxi Brindabella is the next yacht expected to cross the finish line with an ETA of 6.30pm this evening.