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39th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race

by Peter Campbell 13 Apr 2013 14:00 BST 6-9 April 2013
Frantic wins the 39th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race © Peter Campbell

Ending Australia's summer ocean racing

Australia's summer ocean racing has ended with the running of the 39th Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race, a Category 1 event that took the fleet on an open ocean course of 414 nautical miles across the northern Tasman Sea.

Previously held in late October, this summer's race date was changed until early April to fit in better with the ocean racing program centred in Sydney.

The move has proved successful with a noted increase in the quality and quantity of the fleet, although fleet size is still restricted because of limited mooring in the coral lagoon of the World Heritage-listed island.

The race, which starts from Broken Bay, north of Sydney, is conducted by the small Gosford Sailing Club on the New South Wales Central Coast, and is the only Category 1 ocean race in Australian waters other than the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Lord Howe Island itself is a sub-tropical island, discovered by HMS Supply, a vessel of the First Fleet which was despatched from the infant penal colony to Norfolk Island in search of food for the military and convict inhabitants of Sydney. The island was then uninhabited but later became settled by sealers and whalers and today is a popular but low key tourist venue.

This year's Gosford to Lord Howe Island race was sailed in light to moderate weather with line honours going to the Volvo 70 Southern Excellence, skippered by Sydney yachtsman Andrew Wenham.

The Volvo 70 had an elapsed time of 63 hours 45 minutes and 22 seconds, many hours outside the race record set by a Volvo 60, Getaway Sailing, of 34 hours 52 minutes and 02 seconds.

Southern Excellence finished five and a half hours ahead of overall winner Frantic, Mick Martin's TP52, also from Sydney. Third to reach Lord Howe Island was Queenslander Rod Jones in his Welbourne 50, Alegria V.

Frantic won both the IRC and ORCi categories, taking out IRC from Cruising Yacht Club of Australia champion AFR Midnight Rambler, the McConaghy-built Ker 40 skippered by Ed Psaltis, and James Cameron's Hick 35, Luna Sea.

Under ORCi ratings, Frantic won from AFR Midnight Rambler, with third place going to Phil Bennett's King 38, King Billy. Algeria V won the PHS category from Luna Sea and King Billy.

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