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Ausmaid leading Port Lincoln Race

by Peter Campbell on 3 Mar 2001
CLOSE BATTLE FOR LEAD IN ADELAIDE TO PORT LINCOLN OCEAN RACE

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race winner Ausmaid early this evening was leading the fleet across the Gulf of St Vincent in the 51st Quin's Blue Water Classic ocean race from Adelaide to Port Lincoln.

Ausmaid, a Farr 47 skippered by owner Kevan Pearce, regained the lead in a freshening southerly breeze after the Farr 40 One Design, War Games, skippered by David Urry, had narrowly led the fleet around the first turning mark off Henley Pier this afternoon.

This year, for the first time, the 161 nautical mile race started from North Haven with the yachts racing along the Adelaide beaches to the mark off Henley Pier, adding a new public dimension to the event, with the pier packed with spectators.

Ausmaid quickly took the lead after the Governor of South Australia, Sir Eric Neal, fired the gun, but nearing the Henley mark the wind died away.

Third placed War Games, skippered by David Urry, picked up a light breeze to lead around the marfk from Ausmaid, Prime Example, Secret Men's Business and Alliance and the little Mumm 30, On the Edge, thus winning the inaugural Simrad Cup Henley Sprint.

Heading south and out to sea, War Games held an early lead but as the breeze freshened to between 15 and 20 knots, the powerful Ausmaid regained the lead.

The race to Port Lincoln takes the fleet on a south-westerly course from Adelaide, past Marion Reef in the Gulf of St Vincent, then through the Investigator Strait and across Spencer Gulf, waters charted so meticulously by the famous navigator Matthew Flinders around two centuries ago.

In fact, he is remembered in this race by the prestigious Matthew Flinders Team Trophy, currently held by the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia.

Yachting South Australia executive officer John Woollatt forecasts that the leading boats should reach Port Lincoln between 5am and 8am tomorrow as the breeze is expected to hold in overnight.

If Ausmaid can win on corrected time she will become only the third South Australian yacht to have won both the Sydney to Hobart and South Australia's premier offshore race, the others being Nerida and Ingrid back in the 1950s.

Ausmaid's stay at Port Lincoln will be brief, as she will return to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, her home port, for the Forrester Properties Sydney to Mooloolaba Race starting in early April.


Further information: Peter Campbell - 0419 385 028 or
email - peter_ campbell@bigpond.com

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