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10 April 2007, 12:08 pm
Old Yachts Dominate
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race 2007
Gladstone, Australia

The windy and wet 306 nm Brisbane to Gladstone race proved to be another triumph for the oldest yachts in the fleet when the 41 year old Brisbane sloop Saltash 11 won her eighth Courier-Mail Cup. Matt ALLEN (AUS) steered the Volvo 70 Ichi Ban to win the line honours trophy with a slick course time of 22 hours, 20 minutes and 45 seconds.
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Saltash II, a modified Yachting World Diamond Day Sailor, romped to victory with unmatched boat speed slicing a path up over and sometimes through the white crested 3 metre waves to score a commanding win over the modern Sydney yachts Quantum Racing (Ray ROBERTS) and Wot Yot (Graeme WOOD).

Late Charge

Her prospects of winning appeared remote until her talented crew contributed to a race winning performance in the roughest and toughest section from Lady Elliot Island into the finish in Gladstone Harbour.

Skipper Ian WRIGHT (AUS) conceded they were not in good shape when they tracked a course from Breaksea Spit to Lady Elliot Island. 'We had a short crew meeting and decided to put the hammer down,' he said.

Saltash II responded surfing the groundswell to a peak speed of 17.6 knots when the gusty breeze built to 35 knots. 'She [Saltash II] is just a joy to sail in the stronger winds and she gave us a thrilling ride across the top of Hervey Bay,' WRIGHT said.

The rest is now history with Saltash II spoiling the provisional party celebrations for the Quantum Racing and Wot Yot crews when she power sailed past Gatcombe Head and on to the finish off Auckland Creek to claim another milestone in Brisbane to Gladstone race history.

Experience Pays

Her crew of skipper Ian WRIGHT, Bill WRIGHT, Peter CAVILL, Tony REIK and Trent ROWELL, who have a collective 96 race experience, demonstrated their skills as talented fresh wind sailors with their deserved win. They enjoyed a relatively uneventful race compared with their match racing rival the 42 year old Gladstone sloop Wistari which also showed that age is no barrier when the weather turns sour.

Wistari, a four-time Gladstone race winner, blew out spinnakers, was wiped out in a wild sideway broach down a rogue wave and despite finishing with her favoured heavy wind spinnaker in the rag-bag still managed to fill fourth place.

'We had our moments and broaching down the wave with the mast tip wind gear in the water was something that the crew would not like to experience again,' skipper Scott PATRICK (AUS) said.

But there was a nice end to their race with Wistari winning the Noel Patrick Memorial, fourth overall in the Grand Prix IRC class, third in Performance Handicap and second to Saltash II in the Veterans class.

Line Honours But No Record For Ichi Ban

Sydney offshore yacht racing skipper ALLEN helmed his Volvo Globe race challenger Ichi Ban to an impressive line honours win in the 59th Brisbane to Gladstone Race. Ichi Ban powered with a building south east breeze carried her largest spinnaker across the Auckland Creek finish line to complete the in 22 hours, 28 minutes and 45 seconds, just 1 hour, 55 minutes and 55 seconds outside the race record.

The win proved to be a popular result with skipper ALLEN adding the victory to his second in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race and an equally impressive line honours trophy win in the Audi Sydney to Gold Coast race.

Skipper ALLEN accepted the win and naturally praised the dedication of his crew including the Volvo Globe race navigator Will OXLEY (AUS) and his Sydney Hobart race winning sailing master Michael SPIES (AUS).

'They are a great team to sail with and they worked hard to keep Ichi Ban on the pace,' said ALLEN. 'Unfortunately their effort was not rewarded with the race record but we still had a fast sail'.

Ian Grant (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Ichi Ban won line honours:© Daniel Forster/Rolex
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