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16 March 2006, 10:47 am
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Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race 2006
Sydney, Australia

Following multiple successes in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart, the largest Queensland contingent in many years is set to try its luck in the annual Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race which will start on 1 April in Australia with a 41 strong fleet.
Mike FREEBAIRN's (AUS) classic MDBS Koomooloo has become a regular in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's (CYCA) long ocean races and following a divisional win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the 1968 built timber Kaufman 41 is back to represent the sunshine state.

MDBS Koomooloo is finishing off an exhaustive 15 month campaign which included the 2004 and 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobarts, last year's Sydney Gold Coast and Sydney Mooloolaba races, the 2005 Geelong Week, Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island regattas and finally, the classic yacht regatta in Melbourne which coincided with the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in January.

Flying The Host Club's Flag

While flying the host club's flag, Graeme WOOD's (AUS) Sydney 47 Wot's Next, another divisional winner in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, has strong Queensland ties. WOOD is a Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron member and his business, Wotif.com has its head office in Brisbane.

Joining WOOD for this race will be a number of ex-Quest sailors from Sydney and Trent PAOLA (AUS), the son of Tony PAOLA (AUS) who took line honours in the 1994 Sydney Gold Coast with his boat Condor of Currububula.

Bill WILD's (AUS) new Welbourn 42 Wedgetail finished second in division and sixth overall on IRC handicap in the December ocean classic and in a couple of weeks, the boat will undertake its first Sydney Gold Coast Race with the same top crew, including Darren SENOGLES, Peter ELKINGTON and Vanessa DUDLEY, aboard. WILD last competed in the 2003 Sydney Gold Coast with his previous boat Corum.

Quest of Queensland, the 2003 IRC national champion and overall winner of the 2004 Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart when original owner Bob STEEL (AUS) was at the helm, is yet to sail on her new home waters having returned to Sydney following the Rolex Sydney Hobart for an extensive make over.

The Nelson/Marek 46, most recently owned by the late Tasmanian yachtsman John BENNETTO (AUS), was bought earlier this year by Queensland yachtsman Kevin MILLER (AUS) who is, 'Stripping every fitting, gutting the inside and refurbishing the boat from stern to bow to bring it back to new.'

PERCY Aims For First Time Success

Matthew PERCY's (AUS) Beneteau 40.7 Alacrity, a first time entrant, will sail for the finishing club of the 384 nautical mile race, Southport Yacht Club, as will David BENSON's (AUS) Davidson Murray 52, Prime Example, the fifth Queensland boat to enter.

MILLER believes the strong Queensland showing is a sign of the booming state economy and a flow on from the success achieved by the three Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron members in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

While the majority of entries are New South Wales based boats, Victoria is also well represented in the Sydney Gold Coast fleet with three boats, including the 98 foot line honours favourite Skandia of Grant WHARINGTON (AUS), sailing for that state. One New Zealand boat has entered.

By the 1700 local time close of entries this afternoon, Thursday 16 March, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Sailing Office had received 41 entries for the final race of the Club's 2005-06 offshore season. Late entries may still be accepted.

This is the first year of the new timeslot for the Sydney Gold Coast which now feeds into the Brisbane to Gladstone Race. Previously the Sydney Mooloolaba Yacht Race signalled the closing race but under the revamped sailing calendar, this year's Sydney Mooloolaba Yacht Race will mark the opening race and will be run in conjunction with the inaugural Sydney Mackay Yacht Race starting 29 July.

The 21st Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race will start at 1300 on Saturday 1 April from Sydney Harbour and finish off Main Beach at Southport, Queensland. Every yacht will be tracked continuously, and their handicap positions updated with progressive results available from the official race website - http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au.

Lisa RATCLIFF (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Bob OATLEY's Wild Oats approaching the Gold Coast Race finish line to take line honours last year:© CYCA
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