Yacht race record may be challenged
A POSSIBLE record challenging forecast of moderate to fresh south-east winds has been forecast for the start of the 57th Brisbane to Gladstone race off Sandgate tomorrow.
These conditions will provide the 43-yacht fleet representing clubs from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland with a spectacular spinnaker start and a fast exit from Moreton Bay.
Sean Langman's AAPT, the 2004 outright corrected time winner narrowly outpaced by Grant Wharington's Skandia for the record-breaking line honours win last Easter, will be prepared to challenge the 20 hr 24 min 50 sec time.
AAPT already holds the distinction of setting two of the three fastest Gladstone race times and is capable of sailing the course with the required 15.2 knot average speed to crack the record.
The expected strong breeze which will place heavy wind sailing skills on notice will suit the match racing Mumm 30 class ocean racing 'dinghies', the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club sloop Tow Truck (Anthony Paterson) and Immigrant skippered by Jeff Paul of Gladstone.
Both crews excelled in last weeks 469 nautical mile Sydney to Mooloolaba race to fill the major places on corrected handicap ahead of the 1968 Sydney-Hobart race winner Ray White Koomooloo skippered by Michael Freebairn of Brisbane.
Jeff Paul, who will be racing Immigrant with his first mate and part owner wife Janet in the crew, has vowed to turn the tables on Tow Truck.
The forecast has also thrown the race open with several high profile skippers capable of going head to head with AAPT.
These include six-time race winner Ian Wright (Saltash 11) and Sydney to Hobart race winning skippers Ed Psaltis (AFR Midnight Rambler) and Michael Spies (First National Real Estate). The multihull race is also set to be closely fought-out with Martyn Riley's record-breaking Victorian catamaran Raw Nerve set to defend his title.
Raw Nerve power sailed to an amazing time of 18 hours, 55 minutes and 9 seconds to win last year and will again be the red-hot line honours favourite.
Other big chances are last year's national ocean racing champion from Brisbane Team Raider and previous line honours winner Flat Chat. Both races start at 11am.