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22 March 2007, 10:02 am
Volvo Globe Sailor Plots Course To Gladstone
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race 2007
Gladstone, Australia

Internationally famed Townsville Ocean racing navigator Will OXLEY (AUS) is hoping to plot a fast course time in the 59th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race starting from the historical Sandgate Pier at 11:00 on Good Friday. This race over a 306 nautical mile course will resemble an early morning jog for OXLE,Y who has a log book full of major long distance races including the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race.
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His career is highlighted with plotting safe courses speeding along the edge of the Southern Ocean iceberg zone while experiencing the character testing noise and torment associated with yacht racing in the brute breeze latitudes of the Roaring Forties and the Screeching Sixties.

In comparison his next assignment in the navigator's nook aboard Matt ALLEN's (AUS) Gladstone Race line honours trophy challenger Ichi Ban will be nothing short of an overnight sprint in a much warmer climate.

OXLEY likes the challenge of sailing fast in fresh winds and roller coaster type waves and there is a strong chance that he and the Ichi Ban crew including sailing master Michael SPIES (AUS), who co-steered Nokia to the second fastest Hobart Race time in history, will have the opportunity to race with moderate to fresh winds which promise to test the strength of the fabric in the speed producing mast head spinnakers.

On For The Race Record

In fact forecasters are predicting similar wind speeds which propelled Grant WHARINGTON's (AUS) 30 m super maxi Skandia to her record smashing 20 hour, 24 minute and 50 second time in 2004.

A gusty southeast air flow blowing onto the South Queensland and Capricorn Coast during the holiday weekend will be perfect for the race fleet to log career best times but not so perfect for sun baking, surfing and offshore fishing.

If their predictions and forecasts miraculously fall into place then OXLEY, owner-skipper ALLEN, SPIES and the exceptionally talented crew of big boat sailors including Gordon MAGUIRE (AUS) will only need to protect the food bowl from being contaminated with salt water spray during two meal breaks lunch and dinner on Good Friday with the Easter Saturday breakfast hopefully ordered at a stable on shore restaurant before 07:23.

The 'Grits' will not be hard tack rations more like fresh local mud crab, King prawns and crusty bread washed down with cold beer and certainly some 'bubbles' if they manage to blow Skandia's time out of the record books.

While the speculation and predictions have a high element of exciting possibilities the Ichi Ban crew will need plenty of grunts from the breeze to take Skandia's record into a new time zone.

Ian Grant (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Skandia is aiming for the race record:© Andrea Francolini
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