by Ian Grant
Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Internationally respected Mooloolaba Ocean racing yachtsman Andrew Turton will take a welcome break from the cold European winter to be home for Christmas.
Lunchtime Legend - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
However his visit will only be a short meet and greet with family and friends before packing his sea bag to race in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race as a key crew member with the Bob Robertson skippered Sunshine Coast yacht Lunchtime Legend.
The two sailors have been friends for several years and Andrew Turton did not hesitate when the veteran skipper issued his Hobart Race invitation.
Bob Robertson said 'It took some time to track him down in Europe but his answer was short and sweet yes I would love to do the Hobart'.
'Having the experience of Andy (Turton) on board has bolstered our chances' The experienced Hobart race veteran Bob Robertson said.
He already has the career distinction of finishing third with one of his previous yachts Queensland Maid.
But the burning desire remains to perhaps win a new Rolex watch as the fastest handicap rated performer in the 2011 blue water classic starting on Boxing Day.
His new challenger a standard European built Beneteau launched earlier this year to compete in the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week series performed strongly although still relatively well short of racing to her handicap rated potential.
However since August Lunch Time legend has progressively been programmed towards recording a strong performance in the physically demanding 628 nautical mile race to Hobart.
Naturally her veteran owner skipper who has never been known to take a backward step believes his Sunshine Coast challenger which has recently won short course races on Moreton Bay is in with a chance and her prospects have improved with the experienced Andrew Turton in the crew.
Meanwhile the World Etchells champion Bucky Smith brother of Volvo Globe racing sailor Casey who is presently struggling to remain positive after Puma was dis-masted in the South Atlantic Ocean last week has been monitoring the modifications to the former high performance racing sloop Heaven Can Wait.
Heaven Can Wait a former Brisbane to Gladstone Race line honours winner has been recently purchased by the dual Audi Australian Ocean racing champion Rod Jones and has spent several weeks in a Mooloolah River boat shed undergoing and extensive refit.
As expected skipper Rod Jones has named an impressive core crew of talented sailors including Bucky Smith and Australian Olympic coach Adrian Finglas has announced Saturday December 10 for the relaunch.
The transformation of the sloop which is programmed to contest a Rolex Sydney Hobart Race under the name of AUDI Centre Sunshine Coast is expected to fly her new ‘Battle flag’ in the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club hosted Surf to City (Southport to Sandgate) race in mid-January.