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24 February 2004, 10:36 am
Rolex Sydney Hobart Winner To Compete
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Joico Australian Offshore Championship
Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club

Sydney sailor Michael SPIES has confirmed that the yacht he guided to victory in the Sydney to Hobart race will be a starter in the Joico Australian Offshore Championship, to be sailed out of Pittwater's Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club starting next Wednes
The yacht, a Beneteau 40.7 renamed Mr Beak's Ribs, will be optimised for the IRC category of the championship. The planned changes involve increasing the yacht's stability by adding lead to the keel and expanding the sail wardrobe with larger spinnakers and two new headsails.

Spies, who will skipper the yacht with co-owner David BEAK, has secured the services of most of his Hobart race winning crew for the Joico Championship.

"Having won the Hobart race rated under the IMS rule it will be very interesting to see how we go racing under IRC at the Joico series," said Spies. "There's going to be some strong competition there so we'll have a good benchmark. I'm sure this yacht will be very competitive, especially in the short course racing".

Around 70 yachts and 500 sailors are expected to contest the five days of racing that will include the annual Joico Regatta events for Farr 40s, 11-metre One Designs and Sportsboats over the weekend. The Sydney 38 One Designs will also be deciding their Australian Championship over the five days. Courses will be set off Palm Beach for all but the 11-metre One-Design and Sportsboats divisions, which will race on Pittwater.

The prestigious Italian watch brand Locman, and Holden, are associate sponsors of the Joico Australian Offshore Championship. Holden, a major supporter of Yachting Australia, is offereing the chance for one lucky sailor at the regatta will win a weekend in the Hunter Valley driving a Holden Monaro.

This is the third year that Australia's leading professional haircare company, Joico, has been naming rights sponsor for a major annual regatta out of Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
Peter Campbell (As amended By ISAF News Editor)
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