Australia. Lord Howe Island provisional victory for Olympic gold medalist on Kaiko 51 yacht Merlin Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 October 2006
Peter Campbell:

Thirteen of the 18 yachts in the Hempel 33rd Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race have now finished the 414 nautical mile race with the breeze out in the Tasman Sea freshening overnight and throughout today.

“We’re enjoying the sunshine on a mooring in the South Passage, waiting for the tender to take us ashore,” said crewmember Tony Purkiss in a Telstra satphone call from aboard Azzuro, which finished mid-morning today.

Not so happy was Alex Whitworth and his crew of the much-travelled Berrimilla, still 85 nautical miles from Lord Howe Island…”We had a day with no wind and we’re running low on beer,” said the circumnavigator, also in a satphone call.

“We’re a bit crowded with six in the crew (Whitworth and Peter Crozier sailed Berrimilla double-handed last year from Australia to England and back, competing in two Sydney Hobarts and a Fastnet Race) and I think we’ll sail four-up to Hobart in December,” said Whitworth who estimates he has sailed between 80,000 and 90,000 sea miles in Berrimilla.

Despite enjoying faster sailing than the boats that finished yesterday, today’s finished have made no significant changes in the order of handicap results, either in IRC or PHS.

Merlin, the Kaiko 51 owned by Olympic sailing gold medalist and America’s Cup sailor of the 1970s David Forbes and Richard Brooks, is the provisional overall IRC winner from Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas’ modified Farr 40 One Design yacht, AFR Midnight Rambler.

Forbes and Brooks, members of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, have been strong supporters of the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race with Merlin and this is their best result.

Forbes skippered the Australian Star class yacht to victory in the 1972 Munich Olympics and has also represented Australia at the America’s Cup and the Admiral’s Cup.

Merlin is also the first boat flying the RSYS burgee to take the major handicap category in the Lord Howe Island Race since the late Tony Pearson won with Stormy Petrel in 1991

AFR Midnight Rambler, sailing for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, had headed the IRC leader board since the start but in a frustrating final day at sea yesterday took 11 hours to sail the final 45 nautical miles, 2 hours and 16 minutes for the last two miles.

Provisionally third in the IRC division is Endorfin, Peter Mooney’s Sydney 47CR, also from the CYCA which was also third boat to reach Lord Howe Island behind and AFR Midnight Rambler.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Local Hero (Peter Mosely) is currently fourth overall, ahead of Graham Jackson’s Illusion, sailing for the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Broken Bay, and the smallest boat in the race.

This has been Illusion’s qualifying race for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and her first ocean in more than a decade for the 1988 Hobart Race overall winner., the Volvo 60 skippered by CYCA member Peter Goldsworthy, is a big winner also in the PHS Division, beating EZ Street, skippered by Bruce Dover from Sydney Amateur Sailing Club by 13 hours on corrected time.

Getaway-Sail-com’s elapsed time 34 hours 52 minutes 02 seconds is a record for the longer 414 nautical mile Gosford to Lord Howe Island course, but she was still one hour and 19 minutes slower than the record for the 406 nautical course of Ian Treleaven’s Merit, also a Volvo 60, set in the 2002 race.

Provisionally third in the PHS Division is the Lake Macquarie yacht Inner Circle, a conventional Farr 40-footer skippered by co-owner Darren Cooney.

Still to finish in the IRC Division are Morna, Berrimilla and Polaris of Belmont and in the PHS Division She and Jack Lives Here.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 October 2006 )
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