The 39th Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race, to be hosted by Gosford Sailing Club, gets underway on the 6th April 2013.
When Townsville sailor Wayne Millar contacted this year’s Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race Director Tony Evans in early January, it brought back memories of the event from 10 years before.
Millar is one of six previous winners of the Lord Howe set to contest the revamped event for 2013.
Millar won the 2003 race, which was then run under IMS conditions with his Murray 41 Zoe beating Terry Mullens’ Farr 49, Sting (formerly Yendys) and Matt Allen’s gold Farr 52 Ichi Ban.
'We had a lot of fun with the Zoe entry that year' Evans said. 'Several Gosford guys, who are all mates of mine joined Wayne and his core regular crew, which included Navigator Will Oxley and they sailed the perfect race for a deserved win'.
Neither Millar or Evans have been back to Lord Howe Island since the 2003 race and they are looking forward to something of a reunion this year.
It was well publicised after the 2003 race that Oxley’s reading of the sea surface temperatures, currents and weather patterns meant that Zoe was always on course to beat the handicapper and the rest of the 16 strong fleet.
Will Oxley, a Townsville based Marine Scientist is one of Australia’s most accomplished long ocean racing sailor/navigators and has completed in excess of 200,000 ocean racing miles. His achievements include four Round the World Ocean races, more than a dozen Sydney-Hobarts, he was navigator in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race aboard Camper and is presently with Emirates Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup.
Oxley and Millar are close friends who sail together in Townsville whenever their schedules permit and they will be together in this year’s return to Lord Howe.
Built in 1998 and designed for IMS racing, Zoe will find it tough in this year’s Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race as she is not treated well under the IRC handicapping system. However, if Oxley does his thing as expected, Millar can hope that Zoe can take advantage of every possible short cut in the 414nm journey across the Tasman Sea to Lord Howe.
Fortunately for Millar and Zoe, a few early high profile withdrawals meant that one of the prized deep moorings became available at the island for the conclusion of the event.
The Zoe-Millar combination is now one of six confirmed entries for 2013 that has previously won the race and joins AFR Midnight Rambler, Balance, Wild Rose and Merlin in the pursuit of becoming the first skipper or yacht to win the race overall twice.
For further information on the 39th Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race click here.
by Ron Stanblock
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10:48 AM Fri 1 Mar 2013GMT
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