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10 April 2006, 12:51 pm
Perfect Forecast But Will It Last
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Brisbane To Gladstone Race 2006
Brisbane, Australia

A near perfect south east wind forecast blew over the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht race course at 1100 local time in Australia today, but there is a strong doubt about the wind system lasting until the Good Friday race start on Brisbane's Bramble Bay.
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Wind speed checks at the vital navigation points in Moreton Bay and at Double Island Point lighthouse, Sandy Cape, Lady Elliot Island and Gladstone Harbour all recorded freshening winds gusting between 13 and 19 knots.

Unfortunately the high pressure system responsible for bending the spinnaker sailing air flow onto the South Queensland and Coral Coast could move east into the Tasman Sea and leave an unpredictable weather system for the race fleet.

Hopefully the low pressure systems embedded in the Monsoon trough which have dumped flood rain on tropical North Queensland will play a role in maintaining the present forecast or help to build a similar spinnaker sailing breeze when the 48 yacht fleet representing Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland line up to race for the major trophies in the premier 58 year old blue water classic.

Sail Selections On Hold

As expected all the crews have placed their sail selections on hold in anticipation that they will race with their fresh wind spinnakers stowed in the sail locker.

Meanwhile the Kerry SPENCER (AUS) skippered super maxi Skandia is the line honours favourite but her chances of lowering the 20 hour, 24 minute and 50 second record set in 2004 remain in control of the forecast on Good Friday morning.

Present indications suggest Skandia's record challenge will remain on hold until Campbell NEWMAN the Lord Mayor of Brisbane fires the starting signal beginning a race against the clock for the super maxi to finish before 07:24:50 local time on Easter Saturday morning.

The crews of Peter HOLLIS' (AUS) Heaven Can Wait, Bill WILD's (AUS) Wedgetail and Kevin MILLER's (AUS) Quest of Queensland are faced with similar sail selection decisions to be race prepared for their interesting match race for the minor line honours places.

This duel and the end result also holds a crucial role on the ability of Wedgetail to out sail her high 1.213 time correction factor to beat the lower handicapped yachts in what is promising to be the most exciting race in recent years to decide the outright winner of the 58 year old the Courier Mail Cup.

Ian GRANT (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Skandia just needs winds like this to break the Brisbane to Gladstone record:© Andrea FRANCOLINI
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