by Ian Grant
Whitsunday blue water sailor Ian Thomson set a lonely record when he sailed alone around Australia last year.
His challenge under the Save Our Seas banner gained international media recognition during and after the marathon voyage.
He will be chasing further fame next month as an important crew member when Australia’s most famous offshore racing maxi Brindabella now owned by Jim Cooney sets a course to circumnavigate Australia in under 37 days.
Brindabella designed by Scott Jutson and launched in 1993 for original owner George Snow is a super fast conventional deep keel yacht and only needs similar wind conditions which Ian Thomson experienced during his successful solo voyage in 2010 to eclipse the present record of 37 days 1 Hour 23 minutes 7 seconds set by David Pescud’s Sailors with Disabilities crew in 2003.
The super sloop named after the Brindabella Range near Canberra has broken and still holds the records in the Audi Sydney to Gold Coast, Sydney to Noumea and Sydney to Mooloolaba races.
Original owner George Snow navigator Lindsay May and Geoff Cropley along with a crew of high profile blue water racing yachtsmen also have the distinction of averaging 14.03 knots the fastest ever recorded for a conventional ballast yacht in the 65 year history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
Owner Jim Cooney will be challenging previously uncharted waters when he and Ian Thomson set sail in the 2011 Qantas-Link Brisbane to Gladstone race on Good Friday April 22.
Brindabella will line up against dual line honours winner the Peter Harburg owned and Mark Bradford skippered Black Jack and Bruce Absolon’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club sloop Spirit of the Maid, the 2010 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week ‘Gun Boat’, in a big boat shoot out for the line honours trophy.