by Ian Grant
Father and son Sunshine Coast sailors Greg and Josh Torpy have a lot in common when ocean racing is discussed at the meal table.
Josh now an apprentice sail maker with the North Loft in Brisbane has naturally followed the career of his Olympian and World Etchells championship winning father.
His ocean racing career first began as a 15 year old under the watchful eye of his dad when they crewed together on the Sydney 38 class sloop The Business in the 2007 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.
Since then the Sunshine Coast teenager has mixed with the elite sailors in the sport including his ‘day job’ bosses Mark Bradford, Vaughan Prentice and leading hand James Chilman. This exposure has helped the relatively quiet teenage sailor to broaden his skills as a sail maker and a dedicated ocean racing crew member.
Naturally his mother was a little worried when his ocean sailing career began but has learnt to accept that her son was born to sail. On Good Friday (April 22) Greg, and Josh will become serious Brisbane to Gladstone race rivals when the sail past the Sunshine Coast. Greg Torpy will be the sailing master with Sunshine Coast skipper David Turton on Likatiger while Josh because of his knowledge in creating fast sail shapes will be the expert trimmer on Corum jointly skippered by the father and son combination of Geoff and Todd Anderson.
Understandably both Greg and Josh Torpy will always be good mates but that mateship will be tested when the crews of the radically different designed Likatiger and Corum become tactically involved in the private match race to record the faster corrected course time.
Corum which originally started her ocean racing representing the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club at the Admirals Cup in England won the 2006 Brisbane to Gladstone Race in 2006 with her previous owner Mooloolaba Yacht Club skipper Michael Balkin.
This win achieved in testing coastal sailing conditions and similar to the forecast expected for this year’s 308n/ml classic should provide the Corum crew and Josh Torpy with the edge in his family duel while his work colleagues Mark Bradford and Vaughan Prentice (Black Jack) and James Chilman (Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria IV) become equally involved in protecting their individual ocean racing reputations.
Black Jack the exceptionally fast 20m canting keel configured sloop and winner of the Citizens of Gladstone line honours trophy in 2009 and 2010 with boat speed averages of 13.92 and 14.08 knots will need to reproduce this form to win a match race over the larger 30m Sydney maxi Lahana.
Size and sail power certainly favours Lahana but Black Jack’s owner Peter Harburg remains modestly confident that new sails will give Black Jack the power to record her third successive line honours.