B-52 set for flying trip
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
WITH a year of extra sailing on B-52 under his belt, co-owner/skipper Paul D'Olier is hoping that the extra experience will help him and the crew as they begin the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race today.
"It's a lot better this year because last year with our delivery run we really only got the boat just before the race," D'Olier explained as he prepared for the race yesterday.
"This year we've been able to have a lot more planning for the race."
Forecasts have the boats set again for very fast times this year with today's southerly breeze creating favourable conditions for the boats that are downwind specialists.
Unfortunately for D'Olier, B-52 would perform better if the wind was coming from the opposite direction.
"It should be a pretty smooth ride although the conditions aren't to our advantage as the boat is much more suited to upwind runs," he said.
"Knowing that, we just have to work the currents and make sure that we're in the right place at the right time.
"It's going to be very similar to last year's conditions from what I can gather although the forecast could change between now and then, you never know what can happen."
This is the second time that the Fishburn, Watson and O'Brien sponsored B-52 has been entered into the race by this team but D'Olier has plenty of experience on his side to draw from having previously entered many Brisbane to Gladstone races as well as the famous Sydney to Hobart.
Despite the weather forecast going against them D'Olier says that the crew are all in good spirits.
"The crew's happy and they're all positive and looking forward to it," he said.
"It's set to be an easier race although an upwind race would be more profitable for us, it will be more of a gentlemen's race now.
With the start set for 1:00pm this afternoon, D'Olier admits that intra-club rivalry means that the crew of B-52 will be keeping a special lookout on the performances of other local entrants Mistress Again and Slippery When Wet during the 30 to 33 hours that the crew of B-52 expects to finish the race.
"We're hoping to be competitive among the other Coffs boats," he said.
"There is a rivalry there between us but what we're aiming for is to be third across the line in our division."