There are only seven days to go until the start of the Mount Gay 40th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race and several of the competitors have had their final hit out in preparation for the 416nm blue water passage race that starts in Broken Bay Saturday April 5th.
Whilst 2013 Sydney to Hobart winner BWPS runner up Victoire looks the likely favourite for the Lord Howe, Rob Reynolds DK46 Exile has been racing into form of late and the skipper is quietly confident. Exile was second overall in this year’s Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race to TP52 Ragamuffin, after the latter picked up a freakish westerly that saw them streak away from the rest of the fleet to record a double.
Exile went on to win the Coffs regatta overall and has backed up that form with an overall IRC win in the recent Sydney Harbour regatta against hot competition.
Reynolds has suggested that based on the boats that beat in the Premier IRC Division in that regatta, which included Patrice, Ichi Ban and Quest, the result is probably the best since he purchased the DK46 which was formerly raced as Shogun. The possibility of light conditions for the 2014 G2LHI Race would further favour Exile.
Meanwhile line honours favourite Southern Excellence II had its last major hit out taking line honours in the CYCA Wollongong race last weekend. Owner Andrew Wenham says the VO70 is looking for heavier conditions than they faced last year in the Lord Howe and he has confidence in the former Ichi Ban after it performed well in a testing Sydney to Hobart race in December.
However, the Race Committee at the Gosford Sailing Club were advised yesterday that Wenham will be unable to take his position on the boat next Saturday due to a recurring medical condition. Boat Manager David Burt will take charge of SEx II and hopes to chalk up a race record in the owner’s absence.
VO60 Merit’s long standing race record of a little over 33 ½ hours set in 2002 is an easy target for the VO70 if conditions are suitable.
Early weather predictions suggest a start in light to moderate north easterlies with a southerly front due on the Monday, which is not such good news for the bigger boats but could suit the back half of the fleet.
If this is the case, the smallest entrant Peter Mosely’s Sydney 36 Local Hero could find the success that has eluded them in three previous attempts. Mosely says that he is looking forward to getting back to the island after contesting the 2004/5/6 races, the latter of which saw Local Hero towed to the safety of the island after suffering a rudder breakage.
Local Hero has recorded some solid results since including Division placings in the 2010 Sydney to Hobart race and the crew are looking forward to this year’s Lord Howe.
In the lead up to the annual classic, the Gosford Sailing Club will be holding a fund raising luncheon to benefit the SOLAS Trust. Speakers include Wild Oats Skipper Mark Richards and yachting journalist and author Rob Mundle in what should be an interesting and informative day. The luncheon is to be held from midday Friday 4th April in the Latitude 33 restaurant within the Gosford Sailing Club premises and the cost per head is just $50.00 which includes three courses and wine courtesy of Oatley Wines.
Tickets are limited and selling fast, so please contact the GSC if you wish to attend.
The 40th Mount Gay Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race gets underway Saturday 5th April and further information is available via the Gosford Sailing Club website