AAPT leads the field after slow start to classic

UNSEASONAL light winds presented the Brisbane to Gladstone race fleet with a supreme test of sailing on Moreton Bay yesterday.

The forecast spinnaker sailing winds were replaced with a soft eight to 10-knot north-east sea breeze, restricting the fleet to slow windward sailing averages to clear Moreton Bay before dusk.

Race line honours leader, the defending 2004 outright handicap winner Sean Langman and his high performance AAPT crew, took a relatively slow time to cover the initial 42 miles to enter the open ocean off Caloundra.

AAPT was a clear line honours leader late yesterday with Sean Langman reporting he had passed Point Cartwright off Mooloolaba shortly before 4pm.

This was an impressive time in spite of the light winds but AAPT fell behind on her race against the clock to establish a clean break on the smaller handicapped yachts.

Langman said in a message to race control AAPT would need some help from the unstable weather system to repeat his 2004 win.

Meanwhile he and his talented offshore crew including the highly experienced offshore sailor David Sudano continued to stretch their lead as they reached past towards Double Island Point and the elusive 100 nautical mile mark in the 308 nautical mile race.

Last night AAPT was reported to be leading Heaven Can Wait (Peter Hollis) while patiently waiting for the south-east spinnaker sailing wind to fill as the duel continued between the smaller yachts in the fleet for the provisional overall lead on handicap.

Race plotting room officials confirmed that the light winds had presented a very close contest with the Gladstone Mumm 30 class sloop Immigrant confidently steered by Jeff Paul appearing to hold a narrow advantage over a group of small yachts.

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