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31 October 2004, 06:10 pm
80-year-old Skipper Leads
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Gosford To Lord Howe Island Yacht Race

The fleet has had pleasant, but relatively slow sailing conditions on the second day of the 414 nautical mile ocean race across the Tasman Sea with the Open 66, AAPT, continuing to hold a big lead on the rest of the fleet.
All 19 yachts reported in to the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, Newcastle at the 4pm radio position report, with Sean Langman giving AAPT's position well below the rhumbline course to Lord Howe and still with 226 nautical miles to sail to the finish.

Most of the fleet appears to have continued on a long easting leg to seaward during the day as the wind moved to the north-east and freshened to 15-20 knots. During last night winds were only 5-10 knots as the yachts cleared the Central Coast after yesterday afternoon's start from Broken Bay, north of Sydney.

Leading the IMS handicap division on corrected time is the 31-year-old, two-times Sydney Hobart winner, Love and War, skippered by her 80-year-old owner Peter Kurts from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The Sparkman & Stephens-designed 47-footer, a one-time Australian Admiral's Cup team boat and sailed by a highly experience crew, has revelled in the windward sailing conditions and is in sixth place in the 19 boat fleet.

She is top of the leader board ahead of the two-year-old Sydney 38, Team Lexus, skippered by young yachtsman Rupert Henry, while in third place on handicap is another veteran boat, Chris Dawe's Cole 43, Polaris of Belmont.

Heading the PHS handicap progressive results is Seaquest the Weapon, an 15.8m sloop designed by Graham Radford and skippered by Phil Darling. Cadenza, Gunnar Tuisk's 15.2m Farr design, is second and Bright Morning Star, the Peterson 50 skippered by Hugh O'Neill is third.

Gosford Sailing Club officials do not expect AAPT to finish the 414 nautical mile course to Lord Howe Island until late tomorrow, with the tailenders not reaching the island before late Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Lord Howe Island Race is a qualifying event for the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with AAPT, Love and War, Team Lexus and Polaris of Belmont all nominated for the 628 nautical ocean classic in December.
Peter Campbell (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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