Saturday March 31st, 2012
“Gold Coast Australia” crossed the finish line first under the Golden Gate Bridge and into Jack London Square, Oakland at the end of a gruelling leg in the ten strong fleet in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.
“Gold Coast Australia” crossed the line at 0126 on the 31/3/2012 and was their seventh victory from the nine races. Richard Hewson the Tasmanian skipper said; “What a proud moment. We won the race across the North Pacific Ocean, the roughest sea in the world. What a relief to get here. It’s been a really tough race and I’m really proud of my guys, they’ve worked so hard. We’ve had a lot of people that got injured and five of the crew especially worked hard to keep the crew motivated and keep the boat performing. To get in here in first place, despite what happened, and have such a good lead over to Singapore is just fantastic. To get here safely after 27 days of storms is just amazing.”
Singapore are favourites to finish next and with less than 50 miles between them skipper Ben Bowley said; “This is likely to be my last report for a couple of weeks as at this rate we shall be passing under the Golden Gate Bridge whilst enjoying a hearty scrambled eggs breakfast at around 0700 local time!

“We had our race debrief at our 1700 meeting today and reflected on what has been a truly epic race and, for all of us, the hardest challenge we have faced to date. Sighting land in the next few hours will see many people, myself included, realise a dream that formed many years ago when first looking at a chart of the Pacific and wondering what it would be like traverse the world’s largest body of water. The harsh reality of this leg has truly lived up to its reputation and I for one shall not want to be returning to this part of the world (well, not in winter anyway) for quite some time!

“I have been continually impressed with my small crew's relentless, dogged determination to just grunt up and get the job done. I thank them for making my job all that much easier to bear this leg by being consistently willing to pit themselves against Mother Nature in her foulest of moods; this has enabled us to acquire and maintain a fantastic race position which should set us up well for the remaining few races.” And with a footnote to those who want to take on this adventure of a lifetime Ben also said; , “To those who are considering this leg I say you have been warned, it's a tough one, but the sense of achievement felt at the end is quite unlike any I have experienced before.Watch out Oakland, there are some thirsty sailors heading your way!”
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