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Spinnaker Tales

by Ian Grant on 9 Feb 2001
Former XXXX Sunshine Coast offshore champion John Watson is on the coast this weekend to catch up with a few of his old Alchemy crewmates.

Naturally his long standing friend Brian Gardiner better known in the yachting fraternity as 'Big Dog' was high on the list of Watson's social engagements.

Skipper Watson who is short in stature and barely able to see over the cabin top of Alchemy or around the bulk of 'Big Dog' when he was perched on the high side has valued the friendship.

He has taken a deserved break from the busy role as manager of the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club to enjoy a few beers with his mates.

Unfortunately Bob Robertson one of his SCOR title rival skippers will not be in town this weekend, which will take some sting away from Watson's hectic schedule.

Instead 'Sir Robbo' the self proclaimed knight for his highly parochial services to Queensland and the sport of blue water yacht racing will fly the Mooloolaba Yacht Club burgee on Eureka when she contests the 45n/ml Sydney-Wollongong race starting tonight.

Robertson racing with the famed America's Cup winning tactician Hugh Treharne hopes to make a big impression with a top result in his first ocean race to his former home city.

Just don't tell him that you read about the loyalties to his State Of Origin came before having a cold XXXX with the real Queenslander's.

But I'm sure the veteran skipper Watson, 'Big Dog' and collection of other 'Old Salts' will toast Sir Robbo's return to Wollongong.
Barry Wood will maintain a complete study of the coastal weather pattern as he prepares Tiga for her challenge to win the Sunsport three race Patrons Cup title over the Mooloolaba Yacht Clubs offshore courses this weekend.

Tiga more noted for her moderate to fresh wind racing results will be suited to the expected South East wind stream but any moderating in the system will limit her chance to outsail the handicap rating.

Skipper Wood realises he will have to be on the pace in both of Saturday's short course races around the buoys off Alexandra Headland to press home the claim to win the longer ocean passage race to Caloundra and return on Sunday.

Club Yachting Administrator Lucas Down has nominated Tiga as the yacht to beat.

'Barry (Wood) has Tiga sailing to her potential and it's difficult to look beyond her consistent results'. He Said.

But Wood like all other skippers understands you are only as good as your crew and this physically tough series will again test both stamina and technique.

The larger than normal tide heights, associated current and big ground swell will test the helming talent to eliminate any bash and slam in the seaway.

Wood and his Tiga crew have the collective racing experience to measure up to this challenge but the real test rests with their course strategy and applied technique to outsail the handicappers' clock.

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