Stiff breeze expected for Gladstone Race

Ian Grant reports on the form for tomorrow's race in Australia

Wednesday April 16th 2003, Author: Ian Grant, Location: Australasia
Southerly winds were blowing at almost gale force off Cape Moreton before dawn this morning to show promise of providing the high standard Brisbane to Gladstone race fleet with a fast spinnaker sailing start in the 55th annual classic at 11am tomorrow.

The wind speed monitor situated high above the low water mark at Cape Moreton Lighthouse registered a 30 knot southerly while three similar monitors inside Moreton Bay recorded 22 to 27 knot south-south-east winds.

A strong wind warning issued late yesterday remains current for coastal waters between Coolangatta north to Double Island Point but the big question is will it last for the decisive 24 hours between 11am on Good Friday to Easter Saturday.

If the wind holds then there is every chance the race records for the monohull and the multihull races will be taken into a new time zone before Gladstone families celebrate the traditional Easter Saturday picnic breakfast as they wait for the fleet to arrive

The forecast will certainly suit the wave riding Sydney pocket-rocket the Sean Langman skippered Grundig to challenge her 2001 race record of 21 hours 44 minutes 39 seconds while the rough offshore conditions could favour the larger and heavier Victorian catamaran Raw Nerve (Martin Riley) to win her duel over the impressively fast Gold Coast catamaran Flat Chat to better the faster 20 hour 35minute 2 second Multihull class record.

These conditions will also suit the former Volvo Globe race winner EF Language now racing under her new name of Magnavox-Skreenkraft and skippered by former World 18ft skiff champion Peter Sorensen.

All four radically different ocean racing yachts have achieved exceptional speed when racing before fresh and frightening spinnaker sailing winds and if the forecast remains then they are in for a career best ride over the 308 n/ml course.

Both different classes start their respective Gladstone races of the same line at the same time which paves the way for an interesting ‘drag race’ with the catamarans favoured to win the prestigious overall line honours prize.

Sean Langman’s Grundig crew have every reason to disagree with this prediction following their outstanding speed sailing form guide to take line honours in the 469 n/ml Sydney Mooloolaba race last week.

Grundig had reached speeds in excess of 30 knots to be several hours ahead of Brindabella’s 1994 record at the 230 n/ml mark but the southerly wind front similar to the system that reduced temperatures on the South Queensland coast overnight petered out forcing the Grundig crew to wait another year to beat the 44 hour 1 minute 43 second benchmark for the Sydney-Mooloolaba race.

Skipper Langman hopes for better luck to round off a brilliant season of offshore racing for Grundig where she has already recorded a second to the super maxi Alfa Romeo in the Sydney-Hobart followed by a successful defence of her Mooloolaba line honours trophy.

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