by Ian Grant
Team Vodafone V8 super car principal Roland Dane has focused his attention towards sailing fast on the open ocean over the Easter weekend.
the Corby 36 Jassandra II formerly Rockall
He recently purchased the impressive Corby 36 class sloop and christened her Jessandra ll in a professionally managed attempt to win the 2012 QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Race starting on Good Friday April 6th.
His impressive ocean racing debut embraces the former Rolex Sydney-Hobart race record holder and overall winner Michael Spies a veteran Gladstone Race sailor, winning the line honours as the sailing master with the Matt Allen owned and skippered Ichi Ban in 2007 and 2008.
Highly experienced Michael Spies started the campaign impressively with Jessandra ll emerging as the star performer winning the Grand Prix IRC class during the Southport Yacht Club Sail Paradise series last week.
They finished the seven race regatta with a remarkable five wins and two seconds for a four point maiden championship victory over the Peter Harburg owned and Mark Bradford helmed Black Jack Too, while local Gold Coast skipper Matt Percy steered Alacrity into third, another nine points off the pace.
The result was an encouraging performance for the Jessandra ll crew who like all of their 47 rivals have commenced monitoring the coastal weather and the wind recordings registered at vital waypoints along the course to Gladstone.
A 29 knot gust recorded at Double Island Point earlier today (Monday) is an encouraging sign that all crews could experience another high powered spinnaker sailing adrenalin rush during the tactically demanding 308 n/ml race.
Long range forecasters are predicting 15-25 knot trade winds to prevail over the Easter weekend.
Any hint of fresh winds and rolling ocean swells in excess of two metres will be ideal conditions favouring the super fast Royal Geelong Yacht Club TP52 Shogun V (Robert Hanna) to set the pace ahead of her Courier Mail Cup handicap challengers Jessandra ll and the golden oldies, Saltash ll (Sandy and Peter Cavill) and Wistari (Scott Patrick).