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21 February 2006, 10:00 am
Classic Yacht Koomooloo Chasing History
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race 2006
Brisbane, Australia

Traditional timber sloop Ray White Koomooloo will continue to celebrate her 38th year in blue water yacht racing by chasing a special place in Australian offshore sailing history when she contests the 58th Brisbane to Gladstone race in Australia over the Easter weekend.
Her official entry was lodged with the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club on Monday confirming the intention of her skipper and crew to become a challenger for The Courier-Mail Cup.

They will be chasing the honour of becoming the first yacht to win a Sydney Hobart trophy and the prestigious Brisbane-Gladstone trophy in the same season.

A Rich History

Former Hobart champion the steel cutter Solo steered by the colourful Vic MEYER won the Brisbane to Gladstone line honours and corrected handicap double in 1958 and 1959 while the Norman WRIGHT Jnr skippered Mouse of Malham denied the 1959 Sydney Hobart winner Cherana the chance of winning the blue water double when the baby yawl (Mouse Of Malham) mastered a 94 hour, 23 minute and 28 second tactical dogfight to beat Cherana by 25 minutes and 31 seconds in 1960.

Remarkably Koomooloo designed by Ted KAUFMAN and built by Cec QUILKEY for millionaire Sydney businessman Denis O'NEIL has continued to race consistently since winning the 1968 Sydney Hobart classic.

Age No Barrier

The sloop lovingly restored by her proud owners Don and Margaret FREEBAIRN of Manly, Brisbane and skippered by their 31 year old son Michael showed that age was no barrier when Koomooloo won her class in the demanding 628n/ml Rolex Sydney Hobart race in late December. This was a significant triumph for the Koomooloo crew who completed the course 11 hours, 34 minutes and 20 seconds faster than her 1968 race winning time.

Her impressive racing career which commenced seven years before her present skipper Michael was born continues to produce the speed and the potential to upstage the high standard fleet of more modern yachts when they commence the duel for race honours seconds after the start signal is fired off Sandgate at 1100 hours local time on Good Friday 14 April.

Soft head winds would be a perfect forecast for Koomooloo but her young skipper and crew are prepared to accept what blows over the deck as they proudly plot the course to give the grand old yacht and her owners every chance to claim a deserved place in ocean racing history as a trophy winner in Australia's oldest ocean races the Sydney to Hobart 1945 and the Brisbane to Gladstone 1949.

Ian GRANT (As Amended By ISAF)
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