Golden oldies line up for Lord Howe Island Race

SPORT - Golden oldies line up for Lord Howe Island Race

Three of Australia’s most famous older ocean-racing yachts, Sanyo Maris

Pacha and Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo (the original Ragamuffin) are among a strong fleet of 16 boats nominated for this year’s Hempel Paints Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race.

Conducted by Gosford Sailing Club (GSC), the 414nm race is the only annual Category 1 ocean race in Australian waters outside of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Fleet numbers are limited because of the World Heritage listing of the tiny island across the northern Tasman Sea, with many of the entries again using it as their qualifier for December’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Despite the Lord Howe Island Race being open to canting keel maxi yachts for the first time, none have entered, with the largest boat in the fleet being Pacha at 16.21m LOA. The emphasis this year will definitely be on IRC and PHS handicap results in a closely matched fleet, said organisers.

Sanyo Maris, the Alan Payne-designed timber yawl skippered by Ian Kiernan, won this race last year on IRC corrected time to celebrate her 50th birthday.

Pacha, a Camper & Nicholson-designed sloop, won the 1970 Sydney Hobart Race and has been restored to her former glory by GSC member Bill Koppe.

The Queensland-owned Ray White Spirit of Koomooloois a Sparkman & Stephens-designed 48-footer that in 1971 won the Fastnet Race in England and has also contested three Admiral’s Cups as a member of the Australian team.

Then, as Margaret Rintoul II, she continued to race to Hobart before being bought by Queenslanders Mike and Don Freebairn to replace another grand old yacht, Koomooloo, that foundered during the 2006 Sydney Hobart Race.

In her first race for her latest owners, the S&S 48 finished second in IRC Division 4 of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart to the Dutch boat Winsome.

Organisers said these ‘golden oldies’ will be up against some successful modern ocean racers, including past winners such as Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas’ (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia) Farr/Welbourne 40-footer AFR Midnight Rambler, the Radford-designed Copernicus, skippered by Greg Zyner from Manly Yacht Club, andTow Truck, the Ker 11.3 owned by Anthony Paterson from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club. Tow Truck won IRC Division 3 of the 2009 Sydney Hobart, beatingAFR Midnight Rambler on corrected time.

The Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race 2009 will see the return to ocean racing of Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member Bill Gilbert in his Jutson-designed Southern Cross.

Entries for the race, which starts from Broken Bay on Saturday, October 31, come from a wide range of clubs, including the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia; Royal Sydney Yacht Squadro;, Cronulla, Gosford and Sydney Amateur Sailing Clubs; Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Manly Yacht Clubs; and, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

Host club, Gosford Sailing Club, has two entries, Pacha and Polaris of Belmont (Chris Dawe).

For more information, 

Photos: Lord Howe looms large overCopernicus;Sanyo Marisfinishing 2008 Race.