Almost a year ago to the day, 40-foot Victorian racing yacht Wicked and its delivery crew were turned around at Robe on their way to South Australia for the Teakle Classic Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race.

Due to COVID-19 border restrictions put in place just days before last year’s race, it was all of a sudden not going to be possible for the boat to make it to the start line.

Crew member Kate Goss said the team was “absolutely gutted” when they found out, forcing them to turn around and dock in at Portland in western Victoria before making the long trip back to Melbourne.

“When we found out that the border had shut and we had to turn around, the boat just went silent,” she said.

“It was really quiet and no one really felt like talking for quite a few hours.

“In Victoria it had just been an endless kick in the guts and we honestly thought we were going to get here last year.”

Fast forward to 2022 and the Wicked team, along with three other Victorian crews, is returning to compete in South Australia’s premier ocean race.

Crew member Dick Ford described his excitement for the 2022 race similar to “a little kid that counts the days down to Christmas”.

“I think the whole crew have been doing that for the last two or three weeks,” he said.

“It’s the best regatta in Australia in my opinion and it’s why I’ve been going to it for 30-odd years.”

It’s welcome news as well for event organisers at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club.

“Port Lincoln has a fantastic reputation across the Australian sailing community, mainly due to the glamour sailing conditions on Boston Bay,” regatta chairman Andy Dyer said.

“But so many people travel far and wide to be here because of the local hospitality that comes with a destination event like Lincoln Week.”

A total of 25 boats are entered in the race, headlined by reigning Sydney-Hobart champion Ichi Ban, skippered by Matt Allen.

The race will start from North Haven at 3pm today with early finishers expected to arrive in Port Lincoln in the early hours of Saturday morning.