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3 July 2004, 11:11 am
Classic Koomooloo On Course To Hamilton Island
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Hamilton Island Race Week
Whitsunday Islands

There is an enormous element of pride associated with the racing log of the famed Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron sloop Koomooloo which has been entered to contest 2004 Hahn Premium Race Week Classic Yacht Division at Hamilton Island from August 21-28.
Her gleaming varnished topsides meticulously restored and maintained by present owners Don and Margaret FREEBAIRN of Manly, Brisbane reflect their personal love and duty of care for the Ted Kaufman designed and Cecil Quilkey built yacht.

Koomooloo, traditionally built from hand selected timber for prominent Sydney businessman and dual Olympian Denis O'NEIL has the distinction of winning the 1968 Sydney to Hobart race and representing Australia in the 1969 and 1971 international Admirals Cup events in England.

A number of high profile skippers including Australia's original Americas Cup helmsman the late Jock STURROCK have gripped her tiller to play a role in establishing a number of impressive race results during the past 36 years.

The Freebairn sailing family of parents Don and Margaret and son Michael have major plans entered in the racing diary for Koomooloo.

She has been nominated to contest the 2004 Hog's Breath Race Week at Airlie Beach as a tune up trial for her clash against the majestic 81 year old 86ft William Fife designed schooner Astor skippered by Richard STRAMAN from Newport Beach California.

This friendly fleet racing championship for classic yachts will attract international interest when the little Australian sloop and the big American schooner tension their sails in a dual for the prestigious class trophy at Hamilton Island

Remarkably Astor built at the Fife Yard in Scotland from hand shaped Teak planks bronze riveted to English Oak Frames and originally christened Ada also has a Sydney Hobart race history.

Astor won the Sydney Hobart Race line honours in 1961, 1963 and 1964 and was beaten by just 57 seconds by the Huey Long skippered Ondine in 1962 to miss a rare record of becoming the only yacht in history to win four consecutive first to finish trophies in the major blue water classic.

She is still helmed with the same pride after thousands of racing and cruising miles have passed under her keel during the past 81 years and this will again be demonstrated when her traditional schooner rig of Yankee, Genoa, and Staysails are tensioned for her races against the sloop Koomooloo.

Both yachts radically different in design, age, size and sail area will compete on specially allocated handicaps with Astor favoured for line honours while Koomooloo is expected to win on handicap.

"Our family crew aboard Koomooloo is very excited and looking forward to having the opportunity to fleet race against Astor at Hamilton Island". Michael FREEBAIRN said.
Ian Grant
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