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Yachtsman to defend Brisbane to Gladstone title

by Ian Grant on 13 Apr 2000
Sunshine Coast yachtsman Ross Rayner has accepted the prospect of facing a tough challenge when he and his Mooloolaba Yacht Club defend the 308 n/ml
Carlton Brisbane-Gladstone line honours title over the Easter holiday weekend.

Last year Rayner crew of talented sailors displayed determined skill to pilot Nortruss G-Wizz to a close but comfortable win from the larger Royal Queensland
Yacht Squadron sloop Cruz Control to record a career best result for the popular yachtsman.

But there are several crews including the Cruz Control racing team who have programmed their challenge around winning the prestigious line honours trophy in
Queensland's major offshore race.

Pre race scuttlebut has been focused on the possibility of Nortruss G-Wizz facing up to a strong list of challengers including the Telstra Sydney-Hobart record
breaker Nokia and the Mornington based maxi Wild Thing.

An invitation to race was issued by Queensland Cruising Yacht Club Officials to the connections of Nokia.

Naturally her Hobart race co skipper Michael Spies who has taken line honours in previous Gladstone Races as crew with the late Jack Rooklyn's Apollo's is
keen but there has been no request for a entry form.

The same situation applies to the waterfront rumour regarding Wild Thing which has been booked for a design modification including the addition of water ballast
tanks and a longer waterline length profile to primarily build a challenge for line honours in the next Sydney Hobart race.

There is also a strong possibility that Bobsled the present Brisbane-Gladstone race record holder and winner of four line honours titles will be nominated.

Her joint skippers Robert Bird and Kerry Spencer have secured a more modern keel salvaged from Amazon which was destroyed by fire at her Sydney moorings
shortly after breaking the Sydney-Southport race record three years ago.

Bobsled has not appeared on the start line of a major race since the tragic 1998 Sydney-Hobart and the chances of her challenging Ross Rayner's Nortruss
G-Wizz for line honours in this years Brisbane-Gladstone also appear remote.

Meanwhile skipper Rayner and crew have continued with their intensive preparations for the title defence, using the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's
Sydney-Mooloolaba race as a full scale trial.

Rayner has mixed feelings about the Sydney-Mooloolaba race following a rig damaging wild wipe-out which almost prevented them from starting and eventually
winning his career best result over the Gladstone Race rhumbline last year.

Nortruss G-Wizz emerged with a damaged boom and remarkably avoided being dismasted when she was knocked down from the unrelenting force of squally
30-40knot winds.

Fortunately the dramatic experience had a happy ending with the crew winning the Gladstone Race line honours for their popular skipper.

They are aware of the normal rumours which drift about the waterfront at this time of the year and have not allowed them to hinder their preparations for a
successful defence.

A recent refit and the addition of new sails including a powerful spinnaker suggests the 1999 Gladstone Race line honours trophy winner is well prepared to test
her improved speed when the start signal is hoisted off Sandgate at 1100 hours on Good Friday morning.

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