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30 March 2006, 11:00 am
Spinnaker Tales
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race 2006
Brisbane, Australia

Veteran Caloundra offshore sailor Bob ROBERTSON has a burning ambition to win his third Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race for the 58 year old The Courier-Mail Cup before he hangs up his treasured souwester and retires to go cruising.
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ROBERTSON known as Sir Robbo of Queensland because of his commitment to flying the official Queensland flag when racing has lodged a late entry for Queensland's premier blue water classic starting off the historical Sandgate Pier on Good Friday 1 April.

His Gladstone race career started 24 years ago when the then 'rookie' ocean racing skipper completed an impressive debut finishing third overall behind the Gladstone sloop Wistari and Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club skipper Graeme JONES in Beach Inspector.

Squally 25 knot winds and a number of out of control broaches which startled his young crew of Bramble Bay dinghy sailors who seemed happy to step onto stable dry land at the end of the windy 1982 race also provided Bob ROBERTSON with a nerve bending introduction to the sport.

The determined skipper showed that his first race third was no fluke by completing the same result during the light wind Easter of 1983 when he steered Hot Prospect 11 to another commendable result behind the Royal Papua Yacht Club sloop Di Hard (Bruce TARDREW) and Amercias Cup skipper Sir James HARDY in Police Car.

Only four years later in 1987 Bob ROBERTSON enjoyed the opportunity to record a Gladstone Race win in his personal log book when he steered Sellers Witchcraft 11 to a narrow 5 minute 7 second win after a grueling 308 n/ml 35 hour match race against the equally well sailed Brisbane sloop The Gambler (Ian KENNY).

Both Farr 40 class sloops tested the on watch helmsmen when running before the prevailing sail stressing south east trade winds however Sir Robbo survived the challenge winning his private match race when he steered Sellars Witchcraft 11 over the Auckland Point finish line 1 minute 11 seconds ahead of The Gambler.

That was a memorable moment in a colourful career which has included another Gladstone race win with Corrobboree and a third overall in the Sydney Hobart with Queensland Maid.

His latest yacht Monkey Magic is a comfortable Bavaria 42 cruiser racer which has the distinction of winning the Hamilton Island Race Week Baynham Island race against an international standard fleet including the super maxi's Skandia (Grant WHARINGTON) and Konica Minolta (Stewart THWAITES).

Ian GRANT (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Skandia will be aiming for more success in Gladstone:© Daniel FORSTER/ROLEX
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