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27 February 2006, 11:51 am
Bill Is 'Wild' About Wedetail
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race 2006
Brisbane, Australia

Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron skipper Bill WILD has the recorded 9.1 knot average speed in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race to support a front line challenge to win the 58th Brisbane to Gladstone Race over the Easter weekend.
His new challenger Wedgetail designed by Hugh WELBOURNE and built by her sailing master Kevin COSTIN completed a sensational Hobart debut to snatch the fastest time for a 12.9m sloop while claiming sixth overall on corrected handicap.

The outstanding result justifies Wedgetail to be ranked among the favourites to win the prestigious 58 year old sterling silver trophy The Courier-Mail Cup.

Wedgetail Out For Glory

Skipper WILD officially confirmed his entry with the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club last Friday and has also entered Wedgetail in the 384 nm Sydney to Southport race starting on Saturday 1 April.

Both blue water classics generally raced in brute force spinnaker sailing trade winds will give the Wedgetail crew another opportunity to gain further respect as one of Australia's most consistent ocean racing combinations.

The early nomination of Wedgetail suggests skipper WILD is keen to improve on his personal best result a third place with his former sloop the modified Mumm 36 Corum.

The Competition

Wedgetail has the proven speed potential but her crew will need a favourable forecast like all of the other top contenders including the 41 year old Wistari skippered by Gladstone's Scott PATRICK.

Wistari has the distinction of winning four Gladstone races and continues to command respect from the crews aboard the modern yachts.

However while Wistari has the reputation she will need to sail a longer period of the race in wave riding winds to compensate her lower handicap against the power sailing performance of her more modern race rivals like Wedgetail.

'The old girl [Wistari] is a joy to helm in strong running and reaching winds and the harder it blows the better she likes it,' PATRICK said. 'A squally south east wind averaging 18 to 20 knots would be the perfect Easter present.'

PATRICK's preferred forecast may become a reality with long range forecasters predicting a wet and windy Easter for the South and Central Queensland coast.

Sensibly PATRICK and WILD have not been influenced to make any decisions on race strategy or sail selection based on a long range forecast they will make their own more reliable judgment associated with the prevailing coastal weather system 24 hours before the official start at 1100 hours local time on Friday 14 April.

Ian GRANT (As Amended By ISAF)
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