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16 March 2004, 09:56 am
Champion Remains Dusty And Dormant In Boat Shed
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race

Saltash II, the only yacht to win six major Australian coastal passage races under three different handicap systems remains covered in dust in a Bulimba boat shed as speculation focused on race entries for the 56th Brisbane to Gladstone classic.
The former English designed Yachting World day sailing Diamond class sloop which has been progressively modified to suit the changes in the ocean racing handicap systems won her first of six races in 1986 and is yet to be nominated to defend the prestigious 56 year old THE COURIER-MAIL CUP this Easter.

However while her entry has not been lodged Saltash II, winner of a record breaking 6th race during Easter 2003 is expected to be on the start line at 11am on Good Friday morning.

Skipper Ian WRIGHT who steered Saltash II to a sensationally fast handicap rated average speed of 14.48 knots in 1993 will again be the principal helmsman with his older brother Bill while Peter CAVILL will navigate with Tony REIK and Trent ROWELL sharing the sail trimming duties.

Saltash II noted for her spinnaker sailing speed when running before strong trade winds will face up to a formidable fleet including Matt ALLEN'S 2004 Australian IRC offshore racing champion Ichi Ban from Sydney and the 2003 Melbourne to Osaka class winner Team FGI skippered by her designer and builder Jon SAYER of Brisbane.

As the race results prove both Ichi Ban and Team FGI have the potential to upset Saltash 11 which has won five of her races in the past 11 years.

But if there is any sign of a South East forecast then the 'Golden Oldies' Saltash 11 and equally remarkable Gladstone plywood sloop Wistari winner of her first of four Brisbane to Gladstone races in 1971 will spoil the post race celebrations for the crews racing the more expensive modern yachts.

On a lighter note Ian and Bill Wright have rejected several offers for their 'shoe string budget', ocean racing champion.

"Really there is no other option; it's become an institution for us to suffer some pain over Easter." Ian Wright said.
Ian Grant (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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