Carlos Aydos and Tomas Kliman will take on their first Noakes Sydney Gold Coast, on Carlos' S&S 34, Crux.
Carlos Aydos recalls his determination to get to the Rolex Sydney Hobart finish line on New Year’s Eve last year.
He and co-skipper Peter Grayson weren’t particularly chasing a result; they simply wanted to be at Constitution Dock in time to celebrate the turn of the year with friends and family.
In fact, they had stopped looking at the standings after sailing into a hole around Maria Island.
So the pair got a pleasant surprise when they got to the dock just before 9pm and discovered they’d finished second in all handicaps in the inaugural Two-Handed Division.
That capped off a serious change in fortune for Crux in the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.
After finishing off the podium in the Flinders Islet Race and then bottom of the standings in the Bird Island Race, Crux made the most of more favourable conditions to win the Cabbage Tree Island Race on ORCi and PHS in the Two-Handed Division, while finishing second behind Speedwell on IRC.
Buoyed by that progression, Carlos is now preparing for his second Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore campaign with Crux, this time accompanied by Tomas Kliman for the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.
The pair crewed together on Enigma in the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart and did a qualifying passage two-up on Crux last year.
Their friendship and ocean racing experience on Enigma is a boost given their condensed build-up to the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast.
"We just want to get out, use the time between now and the race start to spend as much time on the boat as possible," Carlos said.
"We’re not professional sailors, we have day jobs, so we’ll get ready as much as possible on weekends."
This will be a first Noakes Sydney Gold Coast for both Carlos and Tomas.
They may be new to the race track, but there are many lessons Carlos learned in 2021 which he takes into the new blue water season.
"We’re not a fast boat and we knew [in the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart] we would have a few days on the water," he reflected.
"We knew if we wanted to get there, we needed to look after ourselves, try to get as much rest as possible under those conditions.
"But the key lesson was taking it slowly, focusing on not getting hurt, preserving energy and that takes you halfway to getting a good result on a two-handed boat, in my opinion.
"The main difference being a smaller boat is the currents will have a huge influence in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast. We’re potentially sailing against the EAC [East Australian Current], so we’ll just do the best we can in the stronger streams from the south."
Carlos has placed particular focus on upskilling as a navigator, taking valuable advice from navigators on similar size boats and also Will Oxley, navigator for Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban.
"In the 2021 Cabbage Tree Island Race, we learnt a really hard lesson," he said. "As soon as we went around Cabbage Tree Island, most boats went out and we tacked early with a couple of other boats. We paid a big price for that, because everyone got into the current out there, we didn’t.
"The Boxing Day conditions were similar to that and we thought we wouldn’t make the same mistake, so we went out as far as we could and that worked out well.
"It’s very much about learning lessons and having friends give us good tips!"
Crux shook up the two-handed fleet in December. Can they carry that form to the Gold Coast?
Story first published in the CYCA's quarterly magazine, Offshore.