by Ian Grant
The challenge to test his personal endurance and tactical strategy in the gruelling 628 n/ml Rolex Sydney Hobart Race has finally caught up with the dual Audi Australian Ocean racing Champion Rod Jones.
Rod Jones keeps his head out of the boat in winning style
Jones already recognised among Queensland’s most successful skippers with his Sunshine Coast Oxygen crew becoming the only combination to win two Yachting Australia National gold medals announced this week that he will contest the 2013 blue water classic.
His challenge will be a ‘work in progress’ after finalising the purchase of the well known Hugh Welbourn designed IOR 50 Heaven Can Wait from the former dual World Contender Champion Peter Hollis.
Heaven Can Wait named after her original owner and prominent Middle Harbour Yacht Club member Warren Johns successfully recovered from a heart attack was successfully campaigned on the International 50 ft circuit before winning many races off the Australian coast.
However while the sloop was regarded as a strong Sydney-Hobart race challenger she was never nominated with her proud owner saying 'I only race where in the friendly warm winds blow and palm trees grow'.
For the time that Warren Johns lived at Hamilton Island the sail number on Heaven Can Wait was registered as H 1.
Naturally under the Rod Jones ownership that will change as the 2000 launched ocean racer enters a promising new identity racing under the Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria V battle flag with the colours of Club Marine and Computer One included in her relaunch onto the blue water racing circuit.
'As to be expected she will of course carry the letters HCW on the stern'. Rod Jones said.
Meanwhile the progressive upgrade for the past generation high performance ocean racer will be selectively managed involving designer Hugh Welbourn and a team of selected boat builders and riggers.
'The refit will become a work in progress however a bow-sprit to carry larger asymmetric spinnakers is listed among the initial changes'.
'Our plan is to contest the Surf to City (Southport to Sandgate) race in January then the Brisbane to Gladstone Race over Easter'. Owner skipper Rod Jones said.
There is no reason to rush this enterprising challenge as both Rod Jones and his equally enthusiastic sailing mate Greg MacAllansmith are also heavily involved with the talented skipper Glenn Bourke to become the first Australian crew to win the SB3 Dart World Championship at Hamilton Island in December 2012.
The combination showed they were on the pace finishing a creditable fourth overall at the 2011 World championship in England earlier this year and followed this outstanding result with a runaway win in the 12 race Queensland championship sailed in boisterous winds which provided an exciting entertainment for the patrons lining the deck at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.