Melbourne to Launceston - Gusto smashes race record

Gusto crew - 2012 Melbourne to Launceston
Robert Eadie
In the Melbourne to Launceston race, Gusto, skippered by Brian Pattinson, has smashed the race record, crossing the finish line with an elapsed time of 18 hours 44 minutes and five seconds.

They beat the previous record, set by Cadibarra 8 in 2003, by one hour 11 minutes 38 seconds.

Gusto have achieved a unique trifecta by winning line honours for the Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster, the Melbourne to Hobart Eastcoaster and the Melbourne to Launceston in consecutive years.

The crew reported winds gusting to 45 knots at times and a constant barrage of water coming over the deck.

Sailmaster of Gusto, Jeremy Walton, said the race was fast but wet.

'It was like five fire fighters on the bow with hoses just spraying us down,' he said.

'One of the things that will also stick in our minds is how lucky as a crew we are to sail with Brian who has given us all the chance to win.'

The crew empathised with the other yachts that had to retire from the Melbourne to Hobart Eastcoast and Westcoast races due to equipment failures.

Alan Saunders' Ninety Seven was the second boat to finish in the M2L, crossing the line more than five hours after Gusto. The Gusto crew lead the crowd in three cheers to welcome the second boat into the dock.

Ninety Seven crew - 2012 Melbourne to Launceston
Robert Eadie

In the tricky tidal conditions of the Tamar the following three boats showed spirited racing to determine the order of the next three places. The Secretary, sailed two-handed by George Shaw and Robyn Brooke, finished ahead of No Fear, skippered by Kevin Robinson. Next was Celeste, skippered by Malcom Eaton.

Crews are on a quick turn around time as the Tamar Yacht Club Classic gets underway on the 29th, the final event of the three race Bass Strait Series.

No Fear crew - 2012 Melbourne to Launceston
Robert Eadie