Black Diamond was in form yesterday. Photo: Shirley Wodson
Black Diamond was in form yesterday. Photo: Shirley Wodson

Newcomer impresses with close finish behind unbeaten boat

Contributed by Di Pearson.

It’s day 5, the penultimate day of racing at the Whitsunday Sailing Club’s (WSC) 2020 Airlie Beach Race Week and among the entries is a newcomer, Glenn Burrell’s Black Diamond.

Yesterday Black Diamond finished second to Team Hollywood with less than two minutes between the pair when the handicaps were put in place.

Team Hollywood, a Botin 40, has proven to be unbeatable to this point, with two days of racing remaining.

Black Diamond was formerly Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, and as such, is a well-oiled racing machine.

However, when Burrell purchased the boat, she spent an intensive week at The Boat Works in Brisbane undergoing refit and repairs.

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She scored third in Race 1 on the opening day, so is holding her own against the likes of Team Hollywood and the TP52, Envy Scooters (Barry Cuneo), winner of the 2019 Sydney Gold Coast Race among others.

“I’ve had the boat for exactly one year and two days,” Burrell, from Southport Yacht Club in Queensland, said.

The club is sponsoring Black Diamond and Sail Paradise at Airlie Beach Race Week.

“This is our first Airlie Beach Race Week. It’s very different (with the COVID-19 restrictions in place),” Burrell said.

“You are more socialising with your own crew than everyone else.

“We can only go to the club to collect our prizes.

“You have to sit down – you can’t move around.

“We’re enjoying the regatta on the water, but we could do with some more breeze.”

A photo of last year's Bay Race during Airlie Beach Race Week. Photo: Andrea Francolini
A photo of last year's Bay Race during Airlie Beach Race Week. Photo: Andrea Francolini

So far, the breeze has maxed out at 15 knots, albeit briefly for one day alone.

“Pioneer Bay can be a killer. Not having local knowledge – picking wind shifts and lulls,” he said.

“But it’s a beautiful racetrack and we’ve seen a few whales this week.”

Still learning about his Reichel/Pugh 42, Burrell’s long-term plans include contesting a few east coast races.

“The Pittwater Coffs, Sydney Gold Coast, Brisbane Gladstone and Brisbane to Keppel races,” he said.

“And we’ll do the northern regattas, like this one and Hamilton Island.”

Previous to this yacht, the Queenslander said he owned a Jeanneau 42.

“I got a headache trying to race it, so decided it was time to take a step up and buy a real racing yacht.

“On this boat we have a fairly regular crew from the Gold Coast and Brisbane that we rotate. “We’re an all amateur crew, but Lee Randall from Deepwater Collective is my boat captain.”

This is the penultimate day of competition at Airlie Beach Race Week and the weather gurus say to expect a mainly sunny, warm day.

The 15 nautical mile course is commonly known as the Bay Race.

It is contained within Pioneer Bay and takes in landmarks such as Bluff, Abell Point, with laid marks before the finish on Pioneer Bay.

For full results and all information, including social bookings, click here.