Grundig returns with new owner and race record in sight

Ian Grant looks ahead to the Brisbane to Gladstone Race

Wednesday February 27th 2008, Author: Ian Grant, Location: Australasia
When polite Sunshine Coast teenager David Biggar won the Australian Sabot championship in 1998 he was ranked among Australia’s best youth sailors. However after proudly accepting the National Sabot Championship Gold Medal he had plans to secure his future in Queensland’s ever expanding marine industry.

He personally understood where the next important course was heading and that meant placing a promising sailing career on hold while he developed the important hands on knowledge of building sleek fibreglass catamarans.

Now a decade on David Biggar has become a quiet achiever gaining significant respect in the boat building industry with the launching of Stallion Marine in the Sunshine Coast hinterland at Yandina.

David Biggar will take time out from his busy work schedule over Easter and return to competitive racing as the skipper of the Peter Harburg-owned Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron sloop Spirit of Queensland when the high performance yacht contests the 60th Brisbane To Gladstone Race.

The challenge represents a daunting task for the former Australian Sabot champion however Spirit of Queensland has the proven track record to give her new generation owner skipper and crew a fast and thrilling ride over the physically demanding 308 nm coastal passage course.

Spirit of Queensland better known on the Australian offshore sailing circuit as Grundig and AAPT or the ‘Skiff on Steroids’ has the distinction of winning four line honours trophies in the Gladstone classic. Furthermore her previous owner skipper Sean Langman steered the power sailing sloop into Gladstone Race history when Grundig Xena wave rode before a fresh southeast breeze in 2001to slash 15 minutes 4 seconds of the 21-59-43 record set by Bobsled in 1991.

The Sean Langman-skippered AAPT remains as Australia’s fastest pocket-maxi and in spite of losing her Gladstone Race record to the Grant Wharington-skippered super-maxi Skandia by the narrow 11 minute 58 second margin in 2004, she still has two of the three fastest course times ever recorded in the colourful 59 year history of Queensland’s premier ocean race.

This history will be carried on when owner Peter Harburg, skipper David Biggar and crew apply their race strategy in a match race for the Gladstone Pacific Nickel line honours trophy against the defending champion the Matt Allen skippered Ichi Ban when the start signal is fired at 11am on Good Friday.

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