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by Ian Grant on 24 Apr 2000
Brisbane Gladstone Race ‘golden oldies’, Scampi A and Wistari triumphed with career best hull speeds outpacing the modern yachts to win the prestigious 52 year old COURIER-MAIL CUP, Queensland’s premier blue water race over the Easter Holiday weekend..

The Peter Norlin (Sweden) designed sloop launched in 1972 and often considered to be an obsolete design compared with the more modern yachts revelled in the strong wind warning to spoil the victory celebrations for some high performance offshore racing crews.

They experienced wind gusts to 45 knots over the deck and logged a peak speed of 16.4 knots surfing down a sea under full main and poled out light No1 headsail.

The 28 year old veteran skippered by Michael McEniery and crewed by Ross Perrins, Colin Loel, Jim Graham and David Glenn spoilt the party celebrations for their race rivals when the 9m former IOR Half Tonner completed the 308 n/ml rhumbline race in 54 hours,22 minutes 17 seconds on Easter Sunday afternoon.

Her principal crew members Ross Perrins and Colin Loel who have spent many wild and wet miles on the deck of Scampi A including outright race wins in 1984 and 1988 had a warm smile of contention when the cold winds and driving rain squalls pressed the wind velocity over 40 knots.

Scampi A still had over 100 miles of the course to sail when their hopes of scoring a third win and become the first yacht to win under IOR and IRC handicap rating bands were lifted by the power of the wind and the surfing nature of the building seas.

She produced a controlled white water wake sitting on thrilling speeds for her surf to victory.

The party and possible victory celebrations for many crews ceased when Scampi A docked, they instinctively understood the ‘Old Girl’ had triumphed again.

Her corrected handicap time of 48 hours 29 minutes 57 seconds had beaten 33 race veteran and four times winner Wistari skippered by Ross Patrick of Gladstone and the Noel Harvey owned and Peter Coulam skippered Brisbane Young 11 Young Einstein.

When the crews stepped ashore there was the usual remarks hinted at the highlights including the wild ride over the 83 nautical mile leg from Lady Elliot Island to the finish in Gladstone Harbour.

For 22 race veteran Ross Patrick the final 100 miles proved to be the fastest, wettest and wildest ride of his career on the 35 year old plywood sharpie designed and built by his late father Noel.

“Bursts of speed to 19 knots were common, I have never experienced anything like it before and never likely to forget it”. Patrick said.

The big breeze contributed to the success of the lower handicapped and older yachts because they logged high hull speed for long periods.

Race veteran Laurabada co-skippered by the husband and wife team of Ivan and Anne Holm peaked her best speed in 48 consecutive races to record a rewarding second place overall in the Performance Handicap class.

Laurabada designed and built by Ivan Holm’s father and launched in 1953 completed the race with an impressive 39 hour 10 minute 10 second handicap time for the second fastest class time behind Michael Smith’s Redcliffe Peninsula Yacht Club sloop Exocet while last years class winner Wistari finished third.

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