Joe's wild time
By GREG WHITE
AFTER a day of drama which led to the first-ever cancellation of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race, pre-post favourite 'Wild Joe' arrived on the finish line at 0811hours yesterday to win the hastily convened alternate event.
Ironically, under her previous name 'Wild Oats IX', Steven David's 60-footer won the northern race to Coffs Harbour in 2003 and holds the race record.
Boasting 45 Sydney-Hobart adventures between them, the winning crew included America's Cup yachtsman Adam Beashel, current 470 World Champion and Olympian Nathan Wilmot and Volvo Around the World ocean racers Geoff Scott and Mitch White.
With an elapsed time of 20 hours 11 minutes 12 seconds for the 210 nautical mile race, 'Wild Joe' got off to a flyer and was never headed in the battle for line honours.
"It's unreal to finish in the 20 or so hours and it's great to get line honours in the first time this race has ever been run," David said as victory celebrations began at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
"We're now hoping we can get the handicap double but only time will tell.
"The crew are very happy and are looking forward to their bacon and eggs."
Second placegetter 'Spirit of Queensland' crossed the line at 1037 hours but a bungled start cost her valuable time.
Skipper Peter Harburg realised they had gone too early and jibbed around to re-start but by then, 'Wild Joe' was off and flying.
Before the race 'Spirit of Queensland' navigator Steve Zaphir freely tipped 'Wild Joe' as the biggest stumbling block to success.
Commodore Darren Digney of Coffs Harbour Yacht Club was guest starter with 60 boats eventually facing the gun after eight withdrew following the cancellation of the original race.