Blackjack Smashes Record to claim Brisbane to Gladstone Line Honours

Blackjack on the water, with sails about to be put upThere was no sense of irony as Peter Harburg spoke to journalists, telling them “I am Blackjack”.

Harburg has grown used to winning Queensland’s premier yacht race, the Brisbane to Gladstone, with his crew claiming line honours for the seventh time early Saturday morning.

Fast conditions and a new 100-foot boat meant Blackjack headed into the race as favourites, and it lived up to the hype by smashing the previous record by nearly four hours.

For Harburg, a 76-year-old multi-million dollar property investor and owner of team Blackjack, winning this race means more than success in other prestigious events.

“It’s 70 years since the first race took place. I went down and watched the start of the first one,” he told reporters in Gladstone.

“It was amazing, it was the first time I’d seen a yacht race and my father was a commentator on the radio and he took me down to broadcast the start at Woody Point.

“They were only 30 foot long and we’re 100 foot long, so things have changed a bit.”

Harburg paid tribute to his crew but also acknowledged the tropical low that created ideal conditions for fast sailing.

“You can only break a record if the wind is there to do it,” he said.

Ichi Ban and Envy Scooters finished second and third respectively, with the former leading the handicap overall race standings on Saturday afternoon.

Wistari, a boat in its 50th Brisbane to Gladstone, was in fourth place in the overall standings and was expected to cross the line late on Saturday night, according to the race website.

The family-owned, 10.7-metre boat was built from salvaged parts, including plywood from a plane, a shower base and roofing nails.

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