With just under one month until entries close for the 27th edition of the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, the fleet currently stands at 52 yachts for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual winter passage north.
One man itching to get to the start line is Mick Martin, whose three year search for a slick offshore TP52 has come to fruition, with the recent purchase of Strewth, previously owned by Geoff Hill.
Having looked at other TP52s in Australia, (Ragamuffin, Shogun and Shortwave) and being gazumped on V5 in New Zealand, the deal for the newly named LMR was too sweet.
'They are all great boats, but a mate pulled me into the Strewth deal. We observed it getting some bulkhead and reinforcing work done at Noakes and while it’s a bit heavier than the other TP52s, it means the boat will still be going when the weather gets foul,' Martin said.
'The plan is to have some sailing adventures with LMR to Noumea or perhaps the Transpac; as well as competing in the Audi Hamilton Island Race, Brisbane to Keppel and the Rolex Sydney Hobart,' he said.
In a battle of the ‘TP52s’, four other experienced owners will take on LMR; Cougar II, owned by Tasmanian Anthony Lyall, Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin (NSW), Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm (VIC) and David Pescud’s Sailors With Disabilities (NSW), along with other 50-52ft yachts.
Trevor Taylor and his West Australian crew will have already sailed the distance of the race five and a half times, covering more than 2000 nautical miles just to bring Optimus Prime to the Sydney start line.
In last year’s Hobart race, Optimus Prime, a Marten 49, finished less than one minute ahead of fellow West Australian, Phil Childs and his Farr 49 Knee Deep, after battling bow on bow for the entire 628 nautical mile race. The two finished 10th and 12th respectively in their division.
The 13 year-old race record of Brindabella (an entry in the race), of 27 hours, 35 minutes and three seconds still stands. However, Bob Oatley’s super maxi Wild Oats XI is returning and will attempt to break the record that has so far eluded Mark Richards and his crew, who will also take aim at a third consecutive line honours victory.
At the other end of the scale, Kim Jaggar’s Davidson 34 Illusion and Andrew Cochrane’s Pendragon, a Stewart 34 from NSW and overall winner of the race in 2005; are the two smallest boats so far in a fleet that represents the best from NSW, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.
SAILING - Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2011 - Sydney start (Sydney)- 26/12/11 ph. Andrea Francolini ILLUSION
The Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race will start on Sydney Harbour at 1pm, Saturday 28 July, off Nielsen Park at Vaucluse. The course takes the fleet down the Harbour and out through Sydney Heads, before turning left towards the finish line off Main Beach at Southport, on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Entry can be completed online until 1700 hours on Friday 13 July by logging on to: http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=4366