by Bronwen Ince
Roland Dane, a relative newcomer to IRC offshore racing, has sent signals to his rivals that his new yacht, Jessandra II, could be the boat to beat in up-coming offshore events this year after a stunning string of victories at XXXX Sail Paradise off the Gold Coast.
Sail Paradise 2012
Jessandra II, a Corby 36 which Dane bought a matter of months ago, already holds an impressive record of victories in both Europe and Australia.
Today the yacht claimed yet another prestigious trophy when she became unbeatable, with one race remaining, in the XXXX Sail Paradise regatta being sailed out of Southport Yacht Club.
Dane, who heads the Team Vodaphone Australian V8 Championship winning motorsport team, has used XXXX Sail Paradise as a preparation for the 320 mile Brisbane to Gladstone race which starts on Good Friday. On the form she has shown off the Gold Coast in the past few days, Jessandra II is going to be hard to beat for an outright victory in that event.
Dane's sailing master, Michael Spies, who prepared the yacht for the new owner, said today that he was more than happy with the way the yacht and crew had come together this week.
'XXXX Sail Paradise is proving to be a great regatta and perfect for us in our lead up to the Brisbane to Gladstone Race and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week,' said Spies. 'Our ultimate goal is to win the Audi IRC Australian Championship at Race Week, and this is certainly a great start for us.'
Once again it was Sean Langman's incredibly fast ORMA 60 trimaran, Team Australia, that blazed the way around the 15 mile course. Crowds along the Gold Coast shoreline stopped and watched as the high performance, blue-hulled racer charged up wind at near 20 knots and down wind at more than 30 knots from start to finish.
XXXX Sail Paradise also saw the commencement of the SB3 Queensland Championship today, an event which was dominated by Rod Jones who sailed Audi Sunshine Coast to two impressive wins.
However, it was Jones' effort after the finish of the last race that brought him the highest acclaim on the day. As he crossed the line he saw a crewman from a local yacht, Leeway/Ensign Racing, floundering in the water after he had been thrown overboard as a consequence of an involuntary gybe. With Leeway/Ensign Racing struggling to get back to the crewman Jones raced to the rescue with his boat and pulled the crewman aboard.
The forecast for tomorrow's final round of racing is for another perfect day: 18 - 22 knot south easterlies and clear skies.
The trophy presentation for XXXX Sail Paradise will take place at Southport Yacht Club at the conclusion of racing tomorrow.
Sail Paradise is sponsored by XXXX along with Gold Coast Tourism, Gold Coast City Council and Club Marine.
For more information on XXXX Sail Paradise go to the regatta website, www.sailparadise.com.au or contact Bronwen Ince at Southport Yacht Club: (07) 5591 3500.