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20 March 2007, 10:58 am
Sixteen To Start Melbourne Osaka Race
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Melbourne Osaka Cup 2007
Melbourne, Australia

A reduced fleet of 16 yachts will face the starter's gun when the Melbourne Osaka double handed non-stop 5,500 nautical mile yacht race gets underway at 13:00 on 25 March off Station Pier in Melbourne. Due to varying reasons, a further four disappointed entrants have withdrawn from the race, which is held every four years by the City of Melbourne and the City of Osaka to celebrate the sister city and sister port relationship between the two cities.
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The latest casualties include two Melbourne entries; No Fearr, co-skippered by Matt HANNAFORD and Wil ANDERSON and Joint Venture (Alexandra MCKINNON and Bretlyn BROWN). Others no longer participating is Sydney entry Endorfin (Peter MOONEY and Henry PATTERSON) and Melbourne's David TAIT and Peter TARDREW (The Wizard).

Although bitterly disappointed, both HANNAFORD and TAIT will have their yachts on display at Waterfront City, Docklands this week, along with the 16 confirmed entries for Melbourne Osaka Boat Week, which runs from today until the race start.

'Boat week at Docklands and the Melbourne Osaka race are two other highlights of Melbourne's Marvellous March, along with the FINA Swimming Championships and the Grand Prix,' says Melbourne's Lord Mayer, John SO.

Event Manager's Response

Responding to the withdrawals, event manager Scott ECCLESTON says: 'While we are disappointed for the race, we are more disappointed for the withdrawing competitors. They have put in a lot of hard work over a long period of time to get to the start line. Most of these people, if not all, have been working away at entering the Melbourne Osaka for a number of years.'

A tough race, particularly because each yacht carries only two sailors. The Lord Mayor said, 'The 10,200 km race from Melbourne to Osaka, Japan, is recognized as one of the great challenges in ocean racing.'

The Melbourne Osaka double-handed yacht race was first held in 1987 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Osaka and, Mayor so says, 'It tests boats and crews to the limit. It is not for the faint hearted. It is a major commitment of time and energy, but the personal rewards are immense.'

Competitors and their yachts gathered at Waterfront City, Melbourne Docklands, on Friday 16 March for Melbourne Osaka Boat Week, supported by City of Melbourne.

The public is encouraged to come along and see the yachts and meet some of the crews and enjoy all that is on offer at Waterfront City, including great restaurants and the Club Marine Sailboat Show which will be held from 23-25 March.

Spectators are also encouraged on both land and water to bid farewell to the yachts as HMAS Melbourne signals the Station Pier start for their long odyssey.

About The Race

Staged every four years, the Organising Authority for the Melbourne-Osaka Yacht Race is made up of City of Osaka Promotional Council, Osaka Hokko Yacht Club, Japan Sailing Federation - Offshore Naikai, City of Melbourne, Sandringham Yacht Club and in association with Yachting Australia.

The event was first held in 1987 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Osaka and celebrates the sister city relationship between Melbourne and Osaka.

Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Alex is preparing for the race to Japan:© Teri Dodds
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