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Double Handed Entries: A Showcase of Endurance and Skill

Double Handed Entries: A Showcase of Endurance and Skill
Mistral approaching the finish in River Derwent © Salty Dingo

Double Handed Entries: A Showcase of Endurance and Skill

This year, the Double Handed (DH) entries add a unique and demanding element to the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. With 13 Double Handed entries, the DH division promises to be incredibly competitive. Notable contenders include the 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart IRC winner in the Double Handed division, *Mistral*, **Rum* Rebellion*, *Jupiter* and *Currawong*.

Mistral is poised to be a strong competitor once again, with some minor updates for the race. "No real changes to the boat except for some minor jobs," shares Henry. He will be joined by Greg O’Shea, marking their first race together since last year’s Gold Coast event. "Greg wanted to have a year off, but I twisted his arm," Henry says with a smile. The camaraderie in the DH division is palpable. "The Double Handed division all look out for each other, and getting another boat on the start is great, it looks like Min River will also still enter the race. Mistral is in great condition, so we would love to improve on the result from last year."

Henry emphasizes the unique challenges of the race: "This race is hard, but we are aiming to sail well and hope the numbers go our way. We sail our own race, but the other DH teams have been together for a while and have done a lot of racing." The TH Rally served as a great qualifying passage, setting the stage for the upcoming race. "The established DH racing teams are what we look out for, especially if we get a southerly wind," Henry adds.

The 2024 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race features a significant number of J/99 entries, highlighting the popularity and competitive edge of this class. Notably, entries like Blue Planet, Jupiter, Rum Rebellion, and Verite are all J/99s, making them a class to watch closely. The J/99, celebrated for its versatile performance and ease of handling, has become one of J/Boats' most successful models in its size range. Designed for both short-handed and fully crewed racing, the J/99 excels in various wind conditions with its efficient sail plan and user-friendly rigging systems. Its popularity in regattas around the world is a testament to its impressive performance characteristics and competitive rating.

Shane Connelly, Rum Rebellion’s owner and co-skipper, shares his excitement: "It is great to see so many Double Handed entries, and the J/99 fleet is a very close fleet. It goes without saying that the battle amongst this class will be heated. We have all gotten to know each other, and beating friends makes a victory even sweeter."

Additionally, Intiy, a Figaro 3 from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC), will also be competing. The Figaro 3 is known for its high-speed capabilities and innovative design, featuring foils that enhance performance, especially in offshore downwind racing conditions. This inclusion adds another layer of excitement to the race, showcasing some of the latest advancements in yacht design.

The Double Handed division is further enriched by entries like Currawong and Maritimo Katwinchar, each bringing unique designs to the race. Currawong is a Currawong 30, a classic design emphasizing durability and reliability, often favoured by traditional sailors for its sturdy build and straightforward handling. In stark contrast, Maritimo Katwinchar is a Watney Circa 1904, a historical vessel that combines vintage aesthetics with modern racing capabilities. This boat stands out not only for its unique design but also for its storied past, adding a historical dimension to the fleet.

With a variety of boats, from Mistral, ithe advanced J/99s and cutting-edge Figaro 3 to the classic Currawong 30 and historical Watney Circa 1904, the Double Handed division promises intense competition and dynamic sailing. The diversity in design and technology among the entries ensures that this year's race will be a thrilling spectacle for participants and spectators alike.