by Ian Grant
Caloundra ‘Old Salt’ Bob Robertson would dearly love to win another Brisbane to Gladstone race before he dries out his sea salt encrusted sea boots.
Cracklin Rosie (Bob Robertson)
During his three decades of ocean racing the well-known Sunshine Coast owner/skipper has flown his ‘battle flag’ in numerous coastal classics including the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Sydney to Mooloolaba, Sydney to Gold Coast and the Brisbane to Gladstone classic.
He first burst onto the scene finishing third overall in the 1982 and 1983 Brisbane to Gladstone races with Hot Prospect ll before helming the chartered New South Wales Farr 40 Sellers Witchcraft ll to a close win over the Ian Kenny skippered The Gambler and the Arthur Bloore helmed Surefoot in 1987.
That win so long ago represents a career highlight for the veteran skipper who has owned many potential winners including Hot August Night, Queensland Maid, and Cracklin Rosie.
His personal trophy cabinet also includes a Sydney to Hobart third place trophy with only one cup symbolising supremacy as the best overall corrected time performer in Queensland’s premier ocean race.
However he has not given up the chase launching his latest challenger Lunchtime Legend last July to proudly represent Queensland in the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart eventually finishing 12th overall and third in Division 4 after a little over four tactically tantalising days at sea.
The Hobart Race result was an encouraging performance which has listed Bob Robertson and the Lunchtime Legend crew among the major contenders to win the 64 year old The Courier Mail Cup over the Easter weekend.
Another win will be a fitting reward for the veteran campaigner who has the hard core experience of testing his tactical skill on what is described to be among Australia’s most challenging coastal passage races.
However Bob Robertson’s career results are respected both he and the Lunchtime Legend crew are faced with a supreme test of their experience to log the required boat speed to finish ahead of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s high performance TP52 Shogun V (Robert Hanna) the Maroochy Sailing Club’s Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria V (Rod Jones) and eight time race winner Saltash ll (Sandy Cavill).
All three radically different designed and handicapped yachts have the potential to spoil the party for the Lunchtime Legend crew however Bob Robertson remains confident.
'It will be a case of being on the pace and making the tactical options work in your favour, I personally feel we are in with a chance' said Robertson.
As the past 63 races from the first won by the John Bourne skippered Sea Prince in 1949 to when Marcus Blackmore steered Hooligan to her win on Easter Saturday in 2011 have proved to be a supreme test which suggests the battle to win the 2012 QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone title over the tactically demanding 308 n/ml course will despite the pre-race banter eventually decide the best from the rest.