Contesting their first ever Melbourne Osaka, the two might not have broken the race record of just under 27 days set by Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) in 1995, but they did steal race from under the nose of the Japanese 16 m schooner, COCORIN interland, taking the lead in the final stages of the race, shortly before 20:00 AEST last evening.
It is a remarkable achievement for the MACADIES who extended their lead bit by bit through a long and arduous sail last night and this morning, the last 75 miles taking nearly 24 hours to complete.
Their win is even more notable, as a broken boom forced the 55 year old and his 22 year old son to head into Bundaberg in Queensland on the afternoon of 2 April for repairs. They returned to the race in the early hours of 4 April.
'I thought it was over when we broke the boom. The repair was rough, but it did the job,' Jock, who steered Alex to the finish line, said this morning.'Little by little we clawed our way back into the race. Luckily, we got a fairly good run through the doldrums. We had two days of no wind and after that we chased every storm cloud.
'It was almost wipe-out conditions for the last three days. The wind was going around the dial causing confused seas; the seaway was awful. I thought the boat would break.'
The two did not choose their course to the eastern entrance to Osaka. 'We were told to go to the west shore actually, but did not have that option; west was going to lose us time so we were forced east. The current split at that point and worked in our favour.'
Not knowing where COCORIN was at that stage, Jock, who has undergone one hip replacement and is about to have the other replaced tells, 'She appeared out of the mist around 6 miles in front of us heading west. We caught her and played all the shifts all the way up the bay and protected ourselves from COCORIN.
'Hamish and I worked hard to catch and pass both Gusto and COCORIN, we literally haven't slept for five days. '
The Melburnian admitted, 'Like all races, this one had its good points and its bad. We tried to make the best of every current and every bit of wind. We made a mistake early on in the race, went to far south, but we worked hard to get back into it. 'Coming into Osaka in the dark very early this morning, the traffic was extraordinary. I've never seen anything like it. It's absolute chaos - little ships, big ships, ferries, fishing boats - it was like lit up ants everywhere.
'At one stage Hamish was steering and got squeezed between three ships. Then I took the helm and thought 'we're going to be killed before we reach the finish line. It's the most dangerous finish to a yacht race I've ever seen!'
COCORIN's Itaru MATSUNAGA and John BANKART (JPN) finished at 14:51 AEST. Skipper MATSUNAGA and BANKART had taken the race lead on 2 April after the previous leader, Queensland's RYU-JIN - fgi, suffered rudder damage and made a pit stop for repairs in Bundaberg. They briefly lost the lead to Gusto on the afternoon of 24 April, but retrieved it again the next afternoon.
MATSUNAGA from Tokyo, and contesting his first Melbourne Osaka and Bankart, who co-skippered the 2003 line honours winner Maverick II, will be bitterly disappointed to have lost the race in the final stages. It is believed a dig taken from the eastern shore and away from Alex to the western shore near the entrance to Osaka yesterday afternoon lost them the race.
Staged every four years, the Organising Authority for the Melbourne-Osaka Yacht Race is made up of City of Osaka Promotional Council, Osaka Hokko Yacht Club, Japan Sailing Federation - Offshore Naikai, City of Melbourne, Sandringham Yacht Club and in association with Yachting Australia.
The event was first held in 1987 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Osaka and celebrates the sister city relationship between Melbourne and Osaka.