|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(3-11-2006) Ten of the 18 Victorian yachts so far nominated for the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will contest the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s Melbourne to Stanley Race across Bass Strait over the weekend, a qualifying race for the Hobart and also the ORCV’s Melbourne to Hobart West Coaster.
A fleet of 29 boats will set sail on the 152 nautical mile race at 1:00am tomorrow morning from Queenscliff, just inside The Rip at the entrance to Port Phillip, timed for the slack tide at the narrow entrance to the bay.
Light winds are forecast for the first part of the race, but the fleet is likely to encounter strong southerly headwinds as they near Stanley, the historic seaport on the north-west coast of Tasmania, where competitors will be hosted by The Port of Stanley Festival Committee.
The race record was set in 2003 by Peter Blake’s Kontrol, which dashed across Bass Strait in 14 hours 36 minutes and 15 seconds, beating the previous record set by Future Shock in 1996.
Peter Blake will be back with a new contender for line honours and a race record with Goldfinger, the Farr 52 which previously raced out of Sydney at Ichi Ban.
Goldfinger’s stongest opposition for line honours will be Michael Hiatt’s Cookson 50 Living Doll which has been dominated results in recent races on Melbourne’s Port Phillip.
Both Goldfinger and Living Doll have been nominated for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race as have other competitors in the Stanley Race, Nautical Marine Rush (John Paterson), Shogun (Bob Hanna), Terra Firma (Nicholas Bartels), Bacardi (Graeme Ainley and John Williams), INSX (Robert Sill), Laurelle (Ray Borrett), Magic (Phllip Spry-Bailey) and Prion (Michael Dolphin).
Many of the other entrants are expected to contest the Heemskirk West Coaster Race, including Under Capricorn, Phil Bedlington’s imported Borresen 12.
Other Victorian entrants for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race include Grant Wharington’s maxi Skandia, Tevake II, owned by Angus Fletcher, immediate Past Commodore of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria, Challenge, in which 79-year-old Lou Abrahams will be contesting his 44th Sydney Hobart, along with Chutzpah, Flirt, Gusto 1 and Joint Venture, another yacht making a comeback to ocean racing.