The talented helmsman has recently focussed his career on ocean racing with the Hugh WELBOURNE designed Heaven Can Wait.
As expected the association has been a success with Heaven Can Wait finishing with an excellent top 15 line honours result in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race last December followed by the prized first to finish trophy in the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club 2006 Brisbane to Gladstone race on Easter Saturday night.
This was a special result for Queensland's Heaven Can Wait crew who ended the domination in recent years by the Sean LANGMAN (AUS) skippered New South Wales pocket maxi AAPT and Grant WHARINGTON's (AUS) Victorian super maxi and race record holder Skandia.
The power sailing maxi Skandia looked set to claim the line honours trophy again this year when she led Heaven Can Wait, Bill WILD's (AUS) Wedgetail, the Kevin MILLER (AUS) skippered Quest of Queensland and the smaller Mooloolaba sloop Corum of Michael BALKIN (AUS) out of Moreton Bay on Good Friday afternoon.
But Skandia's race was over before she reached the 50 nautical mile mark in the 308 nm blue water classic when the critical canting keel control mechanism failed just before she reached Coolum.
Unfortunately her crew headed by the former Brisbane to Gladstone race record holder Kerry SPENCER (AUS) could not repair the fault at sea and were forced to retire somewhat with wounded pride.
This left the Heaven Can Wait crew with no 'pacemaker', however they collectively demonstrated that good ocean racing sailors never waste an opportunity by winning the 2006 line honours title by 2 hours, 34 minutes and 43 seconds over Wedgetail with Quest Of Queensland another 1 hour, 14 minutes and 43 seconds astern.
Her course time was also rewarded with a win on Performance Handicap when they outpaced the lower handicapped QCYC sloop Jo and Trumpeter.
Heaven Can Wait missed a clean sweep of all the major trophies when BALKIN steered his Hugh WELBOURNE modified Mumm 36 Corum to become the 58th winner of The Courier-Mail Cup with her faster 6.22 second per mile corrected handicap course time.
In other classes Jo won the Performance Handicap Division 2 from Trumpeter and Lloyds Business Broker Too Impetuous, while skipper Rudy WEBER (AUS) won the Veteran class from On Tap and Graffiti.
Long term Gladstone race skipper Peter HOLM (AUS) piloted the comfortable Marriah to be the best of the cruising class, winning the predicted log event by two points from Sunfast One with another point back to Jo.