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10 April 2003, 10:13 am
Fleet Back On Track
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Grundig © Daniel Forster

Sydney to Mooloolaba Race

The FKP Limited Sydney to Mooloolaba fleet was forced inshore last night by a south-easterly breeze and a strong running southerly current, but today's lighter conditions see the fleet back on track.
The conditions slowed the fleet's pace somewhat, but based on this morning's 7.05am position report, a new race record is still on the cards with race leader Grundig power reaching overnight to stretch its lead to 18 miles and likely to break the nine-year record by 10 hours with an 11.00pm finish tonight.

"We had a couple of problems overnight," said Langman this morning. "We lost a spinnaker and all the sheets overboard and we are dragging the stainless steel door from our propeller system that peeled back with the pressure of the water racing below us.

"Dragging this door has made steering difficult and we wiped out a couple of times overnight,"
he said.

Grundig has also bettered the record time of 19 hours for the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour stretch of water set in January this year by Bob Oatley's Wild Oats in the annual Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race.

Ian Treleaven's Volvo 60 Merit is also revelling in the downwind conditions some 18 miles behind the race leader and just ahead of George Snow's Brindabella and Peter Sorensen's Magnavox 2UE.

The tiny Mumm 30 Tow Truck (Anthony Paterson) from Lake Macquarie is sailing amongst the bigger end of town in eighth place on line honours and was the IRC handicap overall leader at this morning's sked.

Matt Allen's Farr 52 Ichi Ban was still the IMS overall leader and Scot Wheelhouse's Sea Jay has held onto PHS.

The best-placed Queensland boat is Bob Robertson's Eureka II in 6th place on line honours.

Greg Newton's Antipodes retired this morning to take an injured crewmember, Greg Williams, to Port Stephens for treatment. He is suffering rope burn and a suspected broken hand.

Tony Williams (Balmain Experience) advised at this morning's sked they had also retired due to a blown mainsail, leaving 39 yachts still racing north.

AFR Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis & Bob Thomas) has reported steerage problems but it still racing.

The fleet was spread between Coffs Harbour and south of Port Macquarie this morning.

However with the lighter conditions setting in, crews were taking advantage of the lighter conditions to dry out after their wild overnight ride.

"Everything we own is drying out on deck," said Tow Truck crewman Brett Filby this afternoon, following a night where the Mumm 30 from Lake Macquarie was often submerged and the seven crew on deck waist deep in water.

"We spent the night soaking wet and freezing; no-one slept a wink as we were hitting boat speeds of up to 18 knots," he added, as they pushed northwards in a 10-knot sou'wester this afternoon.

Amazingly, Tow Truck is still in eighth place on line honours, sailing in amongst the 50-footers, and was the IRC handicap leader at this afternoon's position report.

Race leader Grundig (Sean Langman) is still on track to crack the record, despite dragging a propeller door from her hull, with 155 nautical miles to go to the finish.

The Sydney-based MBD 66 has a revised finish time of 4.00am tomorrow morning, April 11, five hours inside the record set in 1994 by Brindabella.

Sixteen miles separates Grundig and George Snow's Brindabella with Ian Treleaven's Merit and Peter Sorensen's Magnavox 2UE in third and fourth place.

Intercall Ausmaid (Alan Quick) is the new IMS handicap overall leader ahead of Matt Allen's Ichi Ban and Nigel Holman's Cuckoos Nest while Scot Wheelhouse's Sea Jay has led on PHS handicap since the race start from Sydney Harbour yesterday afternoon.

Wayne Kirkpatrick, CEO of Hamilton Island and skipper of Queensland boat Run to Paradise, one of three sunshine state entries, said this afternoon he is pleased with his position amongst the fleet, "given we started an hour and a half after the rest of the fleet."

Run to Paradise blew out a mainsail prior to the start yesterday and tested the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's response time in halting the truck carrying his spare to Queensland and having it returned carrying his precious spare sail.

There have been no further retirements today but at the position report, Ian Box reported Toy Box had sailed into Crowdy Heads this morning for repairs but was underway again.
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