Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race - Will 10 year old race record fall?

Alegria V is ready
Peter Hackett
The Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race start is nearing and skippers doing their early modelling of the weather patterns going into next Saturday’s race are considering the possibility of the 10 year old race record falling.

The current race record set in 2002 by Ian Treleaven’s VO60 Merit stands at 33hrs 34mins 21secs was achieved at an average speed of just under 12knots.

Queenslander and two time Australian IRC champion Rod Jones has told race organisers that early weather models provided by the Bureau of Meteorology’s Ken Batt suggest that his 50 footer Alegria V could complete the race is just over 30 hours. Rod Jones and his crew, which includes some internationals, a past National Etchells champion and Gosford’s own Pete Bailey have been training hard with Alegria V and are pleased with the way the Welbourn 50 is going.

Built in Gosford and originally launched as Heaven Can Wait, Jones has optimised and tweaked Alegria V and is hoping for Code Zero conditions for the duration of the race.

Jones says that the light to moderate ESE forecast at this stage could mean that the fleet would run from the start up to the Terrigal mark and then point to 060 degrees toward the island.

If this is the case, the biggest boat in the race, the VO70 Southern Excellence II should be a real chance of breaking the long standing record.

However, SEx II owner Andrew Wenham is a bit more conservative about their chances of a race record at this stage and will wait until closer to the race start to make his predictions.

Both Jones and Wenham have nominated AFR Midnight Rambler as the boat to beat on IRC overall, particularly if the pattern delivers a prevailing south easter and cracked sheets.

The Gosford Sailing Club organisers are hoping for a race that will suit the code zeros and tight luff spinnakers but as always the sea currents will come into play, particularly around the sea mounts.

The race gets underway in Broken Bay 1pm Saturday 6th April.

Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe website