Jack Kliner admits he has “big boots to fill” after buying offshore racing favourite Azzurro, which will now call Newport home.
A peninsula resident for 10 years, Mr Kliner has entered the S&S 34 yacht in Moreton Bay Boat Club's Fairway Challenge, from Redcliffe to Caloundra, this weekend.
Over 80 nautical miles, ‘out and back’, it will be important preparation for the 75th Brisbane to Gladstone (B2G) Yacht Race on Good Friday (April 7).
Mr Kliner first sailed Azzurro, which was built in 1981, from Sydney to Newport after buying it from Australian legend Shane Kearns.
Kearns wasn’t expected to sell until he had won the 628-nautical mile Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, but made 2022 his last ‘Hobart’ on doctor’s orders.
It was Azzurro’s 10th race across the Tasman, finishing 37th overall, for second in Division Five, seventh in IRC Corinthian and fourth in the PHS Corinthian Division.
“I had everything crossed Shane would win the overall with Azzurro,” said Mr Kliner, a chartered structural engineer who designs ports, ferry terminals and wharves.
“But personal reasons forced an earlier sale so when I caught wind of it, I nabbed him dockside in Hobart to strike a deal and the rest is history.”
Mr Kliner said Shane Kearn’s restoration of Azzurro was “immaculate” with her rich blue hull, white deck, stainless-steel fittings and even a carbon fibre toilet.
“The boat is a sight to behold and a proven contender in offshore racing in Australia,” said Mr Kliner, who is preparing for his third B2G.
“Better still, Azzurro comes with a very extensive sail wardrobe so other than a lick of antifoul, we are bursting at the seams to set sail in the Brisbane to Gladstone.”
Azzurro is the second S&S 34 for Mr Kliner, a member of Queensland Cruising Yacht Club (QCYC), which runs the 308-nautical mile B2G.
“The last one was Morning Star,” he said. “I have a strong affinity for these designs. They are super safe, very consistent and just beautiful boats to sail – especially upwind.
“It’s not surprising they are the choice of solo sailors around the globe, including Jessica Watson.
“Azzurro’s quite simple with only four winches, three halyards and six clutches, with an additional carbon fibre rudder and tiller that allows us to keep up with the 40 footers in heavy conditions.”
Prior to being bought in 2014 by Shane Kearns, Azzurro was raced in the mid-80s and early-90s by former Sandringham Yacht Club Commodore, Rob White as Shenandoah 2.
There are now 38 entries (which close March 20) in the 75th B2G which starts at 10am on Good Friday (April 7) off Shorncliffe Jetty with yachts going past the Redcliffe foreshore.
It was first held at Easter 1949 with seven vessels, two had radios and Brisbane’s Homing Pigeon Club supplied pigeons for the others to relay positions.
- moretondaily.com (https://www.moretondaily.com.au/news/jack-swoops-for-racing-favourite)