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16 March 2005, 11:42 am
Ocean Race Champions to Duel For Trophy
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Brisbane to Gladstone Race 2005
Brisbane - Gladstone, AUS

Rolex Sydney-Hobart race winning skippers Ed PSALTIS and Michael SPIES head an impressive New South Wales challenge to win the 57th Brisbane to Gladstone race starting at 11:00 (local time) on Good Friday.
Both Ed PSALTIS (AFR Midnight Rambler) and Michael SPIES (First National Real Estate) are naturally rated among the major contenders along with the defending champion AAPT (Sean LANGMAN).

However all three highly experienced ocean racing combinations will need to produce a tactically clever race to record the fastest corrected handicap time against one of the most competitive fleets to race in recent years.

Heading the Queensland challenge will be the six time race winner Saltash 11 skippered by Brisbane boat builder Ian WRIGHT and the 40 year old Gladstone plywood sloop Wistari skippered by Scott PATRICK.

The baby sloop Saltash 11 initially launched in 1966 to compete in Yachting World Diamond class racing and modified to race offshore presently holds the corrected handicap race record of 14.48 knots which was set in fresh south east winds in 1993.

Saltash 11 like Wistari is a conventional hard chine sloop which becomes a sprint machine when the fresh spinnaker sailing winds allow her to 'surf the seas' to record the required speed to out pace her handicap rating.

The long range forecast for the Queensland coast between St Lawrence to Cape Moreton and Moreton Bay suggests there will be squally winds and coastal showers over the Easter weekend.

If there is any hint of a fresh South East trade wind forecast then these two remarkable old yachts will firm as the favourites to turn the tide against their New South Wales rivals to lay a strong claim to win the prestigious 57 year old Courier-Mail Cup for Queensland.

Collectively the Golden Oldies have won ten races between them and they will again command respect when the fleet of 41 yachts representing Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland clubs contest Queensland's premier blue water classic over the tactically demanding 308 n/ml course from Sandgate (Brisbane) to finish line off Auckland Creek (Gladstone).

Ian Grant (As Amended by ISAF)
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