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9 March 2005, 02:19 pm
Race For Line Honours Wide Open
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2005 Sydney Mooloolaba Yacht Race
Sydney, Australia

The race for line honours in the Sydney Mooloolaba Yacht Race, which starts next Wednesday, 16 March from Sydney Harbour, has been thrown open with the news that Konica Minolta has withdrawn its entry.
Stewart THWAITES' 98 foot super maxi has arrived at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia from Hobart, where she underwent repairs following the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, but rather than heading north to Queensland with the fleet of 37 as planned, she will sail straight out into the Tasman Sea back to her home port of Wellington.

With the pre-race line honours favourite now out of contention, double line honours winning skipper in this annual race, Sean LANGMAN, is looking forward to having another shot at the title with his heavily modified 66-foot skiff AAPT but at this stage he is more concerned about the effect cyclone Ingrid could have on the sea state.

'I think the wash up from cyclone Ingrid has the potential to make the seas a problem for us,' admitted Langman today.

The Bureau of Meteorology is expecting cyclone Ingrid to hit the far north Queensland coast sometime tomorrow before dissipating. At this stage they don't expect this weather pattern to impact on the Sydney Mooloolaba Race, however they are keeping an eye on another tropical low which is forming in the Coral Sea.

With the super maxi's withdrawal from the 469 nautical mile race, Langman sees his main threats as David DICKER's maxi Martingale, Grant WHARINGTON's former Wild Thing, and he never writes off the Volvo 60s.

'Martingale has had a lot of work done on it, it's a completely different and unknown boat offshore,' said Langman of the MBD 84, also a double line honours winner in 2000 and 2001 races under Wharington's ownership.

'The Volvo 60 Seriously TEN is also a contender. The Volvos get plenty of chances to race against each other and they've all improved their performance as a result,' Langman added.

Following the withdrawal of Konica Minolta, the fleet now stands at 37 for the annual race to the Sunshine Coast which marks the end of the CYCA's nine-month offshore racing season. The 2005-2006 season will commence with the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, starting July 30, which will celebrate its 20th Anniversary this year.

Lisa Ratcliffe (As Amended by ISAF)
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