A fleet of 70 boats has been locked in for the 2022 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, which returns on Saturday 30 July.
Three 100-foot maxis will lead the charge for Line Honours.
John Winning Jr will skipper Andoo Comanche (formerly Comanche) as the three-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Line Honours winner returns to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s offshore racing program for the first time since 2019.
Peter Harburg’s Reichel/Pugh 100 Black Jack, the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Line Honours winner skippered by Mark Bradford, will look to reclaim the Line Honours trophy she won in 2018.
And Hamilton Island Wild Oats (formerly Wild Oats XI) is back on the race track after a two-year absence, with Mark Richards to skipper the six-time Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Line Honours winner.
Matt Allen’s Botin 52 Ichi Ban, winner of a record-equalling third Tattersall Cup in the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart, is one of 10 52-foot boats in the fleet.
TP52s Celestial, Frantic, Gweilo, Highly Sprung (Mark Spring’s new boat preparing for her offshore debut), KOA, Patrice, Quest, Smuggler and Zen add to an exciting list of overall contenders.
There are 13 two-handed boats competing, including the inaugural Two-Handed Division winners from the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart – handicap winner Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth (Jules Hall/Jan Scholten) and Line Honours winner Sidewinder (Rob Gough/John Saul), as well as Avalanche, Crux, Joker on Tourer, KD4, Local Hero, Philosopher, Rum Rebellion, Rumchaser, Shearwater, Solutions and Transcendence Crento.
While the bulk of the fleet is based in NSW, there are 10 interstate boats entered, including four from Queensland (Black Jack, Mayfair, MGD Mad Jack and Stratacare Flyaway Paul), three from Victoria (Chutzpah, Joker on Tourer and White Noise), two from Tasmania (Huntress and Sidewinder) and one from Western Australia (Enterprise Next Generation).
The small but mighty Gun Runner, the Army Sailing Club’s Jarkan 925, is the smallest boat in the fleet.
Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40, Chutzpah, is the most recent Overall winner competing, having taken out the 2018 race.
White Bay 6 Azzurro, Shane Kearns’ S&S 34, will have her eye on a third Overall win, following her triumphs in 2015 (as Quikpoint Azzurro) and 2017 (as Komatsu Azzurro).
Sean Langman, Managing Director of Race Sponsor Noakes Group, returns with his Reichel/Pugh 69 Moneypenny, which was second over the line as Naval Group in the 2019 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast.
Langman is a multiple-times winner of both Overall and Line Honours in this race, with Grundig Xena and Grundig.
11 boats are entered into the PHS handicap category, including the 2019 PHS winner Pekljus, David Suttie’s Radford 50.
Avalanche, Ciao Bella, Mako, MGD Mad Jack, Mondo, Penzance, Reve, Shearwater, She’s the Culprit and Wonderland are also vying for PHS honours.
CYCA Director David Griffith returns with his JV62 Whisper, which won IRC Division 0 in the 2019 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast and was fifth overall in last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart.
The battle between the 60-70 footers is one to keep an eye on, with Moneypenny, Whisper and David Gotze’s Reichel/Pugh 63 No Limit separated by just 24 minutes over the line in the 2019 race.
The 2022 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast begins in Sydney Harbour at 1300hrs (AEST) on Saturday 30 July.
This is the first of six races in the 2022/23 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, which culminates in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart.