Komatsu Azzurro, an S&S 34 designed by Sparkman Stephens, were big beneficiaries of Monday night’s wind shift from northly to southerly which almost all of the faster boats finished ahead of. It meant the six-strong crew were able to set themselves for race against time, a race they knew they were comfortably leading.
“It was a great race. The hard thing was knowing that we had a chance once Black Jack finished but we were still 150 miles from the finish. So it was a long drawn out run to the line.”
“During that time, as more boats finished we knew we were in with a really good chance and then the southerly did come in and that was great. Really good to get the win.”
Tactical options were fairly limited in the smaller 34 footer in the offshore race but Kearns knew he still had to play his hand right, “From the beginning we knew we had to keep in contact with the bulk of the fleet and to their dismay, and our delight, we did that. With the wind shift they couldn’t shake us and that’s how we got the result.
“With an average boat speed of 6 knots, the biggest killer for us would be 2 knots of current, that a 33% hit for us so staying in close to the shore was key.”
The result is the second win for Kearns and Azzurro in the past three years and he believes it will shake any accusations of good fortune being at the heart of their victories.
“We were lucky enough to win it two years ago so we had big celebrations, people said it was a fluke but don’t know what they’re going to say for a double fluke! We’ve worked hard for this, lot of training so we’re delighted it has paid off.”
“This is the first race of the Blue Water and we’ll be doing all the races on the way to the Rolex Sydney Hobart, that’s the one we want to win next. People laughed years ago when I said that but they don’t laugh so much anymore!”