AAPT completed an outstanding season of offshore racing with a second in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race followed by second place in the Sydney to Mooloolaba and an outstanding light wind win to claim a 1-1-1-2-1 score card in the past five Gladstone races.
However this was easily the toughest race for the speed sailing AAPT crew who struggled against adverse light winds for more than half of the 308nm course before locking into ideal spinnaker sailing winds.
This was easily the slowest of her five race times finishing 14 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds outside the 20 hour, 36 minute and 48 second course time set last year. AAPT known around the Australian offshore sailing scene as the Skiff on Steroids because of her sensational down wind sailing speed gave her crew another ride to remember when she finally sailed into pressure wind south of the Breaksea Spit light.
Skipper LANGMAN and his principal crew members David BOYD, Larry JAMIESON and David SUDANO then began a race against the clock sailing the final 135nm with an average speed of 10.12 knots.
She simply powered away leaving the balance of the fleet led by Heaven Can Wait, The Cone of Silence, Team FGI and Tow Truck to fight out the minor places whilst the undisputed race champion, the six times race winner Saltash 11, skippered by Ian WRIGHT, surfed before the building breeze to stake a claim on the outright handicap honours
Three radically different old ocean racing yachts hold the chance to win on corrected handicap later today. Leading the charge is WRIGHT onboard Saltash 11, the Gladstone yacht Wistari with Scott PATRICK and the 1964 race winner Pagan skippered by Peter KERR of Brisbane.
These three lower handicapped sloops which have collectively won 11 races were 'surfing' the ground swell above the required speed before dawn this morning. Saltash 11 a converted plywood Yachting World Diamond expertly helmed by third generation Gladstone race sailors Ian and Bill WRIGHT still had 50 miles to sail and was racing against the clock to reach the finish off Auckland Creek before 0200 to claim her seventh win. Wistari racing in her 40th year trailed Saltash 11 by 20 miles but was logging the spinnaker sailing speed to stake her claim for a fifth win whilst Pagan which trailed Wistari by less than 10 miles had time on her side to upset the celebrations for her rivals by winning her second race 41 years after her triumph in 1964.
The race against the clock for the crews of the old yachts intensified when 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race winning skipper Michael SPIES' First National Real Estate, Michael BALKIN's Mooloolaba sloop Corum and the Lake Macquarie yacht Anthony PATERSON's Tow Truck improved their race winning chances with impressive course times.