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1 June 2003, 11:55 pm
Sailors with disABILITIES Nearly Quarter of the Way in Record Attempt
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O3 Project - Round Australia Challenge

The Sailors with DisAbilities crew, headed by David PESCUD, and crewed by six of Australia's finest disabled sailors aboard their 54' yacht KAZ, will celebrate one week at sea today at 13.40.19 hours, having left Sydney Heads last Sunday afternoon at that
What a celebration it will be too - with KAZ and her crew going faster, improving their chances of their Around Australia record attempt, in which they aim to beat the time set by Jeremy Pearce and Kanga Birtles aboard Magna Data in 1999. This coming Monday evening, should the wind hold, will see KAZ at her quarter way mark, another reason to celebrate.

Pescud and his six cohorts; Phil THOMPSON, Kim JAGGAR, Harald MIRLIEB, Brett PEARCE, Alan GRUNDY and Albert LEE, have really settled into the groove of their Around Australia non-stop unassisted record attempt and are fully appreciating their sailing adventure.

Brett PEARCE, who was born with Spina Bifida, and is the yacht's communication whiz, reported from KAZ on day five (Friday), "the crew is enjoying sunshine after rain squalls, and breakfast was served with 'The Bear' (Phil Thompson, an arm amputee, in charge of the yacht's provisions), telling the crew 'it's porridge' but some of the crewmembers are till a bit skeptical. A photo has been sent back to shore for analysis… you should see it appearing on the web in the next few days."

He went on to say, "the night watches have started wearing shorts and t-shirts with there PFD/Harness instead of wet weather gear, and this evening, the KAZ Group had an eighth crew member when a Booby bird landed on the boom, and then the stern, and made itself at home. Skipper, David, managed to scare it off at one stage, but it just circled around the boat and landed on the boom again. Night time sees KAZ in about 15-20knots of breeze and making good speed towards Cairns, which we should see sometime on Saturday night."

On Saturday evening, KAZ sailed to Fraser Island, along Breaksea Spit, then went east of Musgrave Island outside the Great Barrier Reef, the will head back to the coast south of Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.

The large high dominating the Australian mainland, which provided such perfect weekend weather, has directed strong south-easterly trade winds onto the Queensland Coast.

KAZ encountered ideal 20-30 knot south-easterly trade winds on Friday and Saturday, and has been sailing north outside the Great Barrier Reef ahead of Magna Data's record pace.

Early this morning (Sunday), KAZ had passed back though the Trinity Passage to the inside of the Great Barrier Reef.

At 6:50am she was three miles north-east of Cairns, sailing north towards Cooktown in an 8-10 knot-south-south easterly breeze. Winds are forecast to pick up to 15 knots during the day, which will only help Pescud and co. in their quest.

This morning, David Pescud estimated they would be at North West Cape (their half way mark), around June 15, depending on weather conditions. North West Cape is off Western Australia in the Indian Ocean, and in the same latitude as The Tropic of Capricorn.

Pescud reported that, "all the crew are very well, getting on, and eating well. There is plenty of food and they are in very good spirits.

He went on to say, "everyone is overwhelmed by the email messages we've received on the boat - they are great. Many schools are registered to follow our trip and our competitions are well under way."

Now 1220 miles north of Sydney, with 5319 miles to sail, KAZ currently has an ETA of 29 June. To beat Magna Data's record of 43 days 19 hours 29 mins and 55 secs, KAZ needs to finish by 9.29am on 8 July.
Di Pearson
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