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26 March 2004, 08:46 am
Family Spirit
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race
Brisbane - Gladstone

Gladstone's Brad and Maryke BARKER believe in the true tradition of family values and will contest 308 n/ml Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race with sons William (22) and Tom (18) in the crew of Spirit.
This will be a special occasion for the popular Gladstone sailing family who has strongly supported the race over a number of years with a number of yachts.

They believe in the spirit of yacht racing which is one of the reasons behind the name of their comfortable yacht.

Brad and Maryke have experienced the highs and lows of yacht racing loosing a win in the 1981 Gladstone race on a safety technicality with a little sloop The Liquidator.

However this setback has failed to dampen their spirit to ensure their sons have the same opportunity to enjoy the character building experience of ocean racing in Queensland's major blue water classic.

Tom who first sailed in the fiftieth race as a 12 year old will temporarily place his engineering studies at Sydney University on hold to race with his parents.

He had been officially barred from racing when the age limit of 18 became a rule following the tragic Bass Strait storm during the 1998 Sydney-Hobart race.

But now Tom is of age and the OP1 graduate from Rockhampton Grammar School will share the on watch deck duties with his parents and older brother William.

"This will be a special race for Maryke and I and I'm sure as proud parents we will enjoy the experience of traditional family spirit on board Spirit". Skipper Brad BARKER said.

A high class fleet of 42 yachts including the Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours champion Skandia and race record holder Sean LANGMAN'S AAPT have entered the race which starts off the historical Sandgate Pier at 11 am on Good Friday.
Ian Grant
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