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15 March 2006, 12:19 pm
Spinnaker Tales
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race 2006
Brisbane, Australia

Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron skipper Bill WILD (AUS) has entered Wedgetail, one of Australia's fastest maxi chasers, in the Brisbane to Gladstone blue water classic starting off the historical Sandgate Pier, Brisbane, Australia at 1100 local time on Good Friday 14 April.
Skipper WILD justified the expense of building the 12.8m sloop Wedgetail when the crew recorded the second fastest knot/per metre average speed in her maiden Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in late December.

Wedgetail with a waterline length of 12.8 metres averaged 9.08 knots for the 628 nautical mile race while the record breaking race winner Bob OATLEY's (AUS) 30 metre Super Maxi Wild Oats averaged 14.72 knots.

Tow Truck Stars

However in terms of waterline length and average speeds Anthony PATERSON's (AUS) dual Sydney to Mooloolaba race winner Tow Truck emerged as the star performer in the physically gruelling battle against the Tasman Sea elements.

The smaller 9.4m Lake Macquarie yacht Tow Truck (0.79knot/metre) and Wedgetail (0.71knot/metre) were statistically much faster per metre than the (0.49 knot/metre) time recorded by Wild Oats.

Noted survival wind sailors skipper Ed PSALTIS (AUS) and navigator Bob THOMAS (AUS) who survived the tragic storm in the Tasman Sea to win the 1998 Hobart race claimed third fastest (0.67 knot/metre) with the 12.9m sloop AFR Midnight Rambler.

All three crews have accepted the official Notice Of Race for the Easter classic however while WILD has lodged his official race documents Queensland Cruising Yacht Club officials are expecting both Tow Truck and AFR Midnight Rambler who raced in 2005 to be on the starting line on Good Friday.

SPIES Throws His Name In The Hat

A strong fleet of 41 yachts representing New Zealand and Australian clubs including the 2003 Sydney Hobart champion Michael SPIES (AUS) on Sirromet Fine Wines are among the early entries to duel for the prestigious 58 year old race trophy THE COURIER-MAIL Cup well recognized among Australian blue water sailors as one of Australia's most valued ocean racing trophies.

Skipper SPIES has included the experienced Gladstone offshore sailor Murray HUGHES (AUS), as known as Muzza, in his crew.

'Muzza was a tower of strength when we won the Hobart and his knowledge of the Gladstone Race course particularly the final ten nautical miles up Gladstone Harbour will be a tactical asset.'..

'I make no secret about my personal desire to become a Gladstone Race winner, we have finished second before but near enough is never good enough,' SPIES said.

The Sunshine Coast will be well represented with the Mooloolaba yachts Amity of Ian GRIFFITHS (AUS) and Michael BALKIN's (AUS) Corum.

Corum has finished third before with her previous owner WILD and her enthusiastic crew including experienced sailing master Greg GILLIAM (AUS) will not be sitting on the weather rail admiring the view.

In fact the ride on the windward rail could well be wet and cold as the new Corum crew chases a career best result.

Skipper BALKIN and watch captain GILLIAM racing their second season with the former Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Admiral's Cup Mumm 36 sloop have a better understanding of their peak speed on all sailing angles and are hoping for a fresh spinnaker sailing wind forecast to maybe target the impressive knot per metre speeds set by Tow Truck, Wedgetail and AFR Midnight Rambler in the Sydney Hobart.

Ian GRANT (As Amended By ISAF)
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