Latitude 28 by Ian Grant 

Wobbly Boot.Why Wobbly Boot?

Friendly Whitsunday Sailing Club skipper Craig Piccinelli has offered no real reason behind choosing the rather unflattering name of Wobbly Boot for his Jim Young designed sloop.

Many of his sailing mates are quick to assume the Wobbly Boot title came from the skipper’s party habits … but that has never been confirmed by her proud owner who has always reflected a sense of personal pride when accepting trophies on behalf of his talented Wobbly Boot racing team.

Sure they have enjoyed a ‘quiet little drink’ to celebrate the occasion while skipper Craig Piccinelli has remained happy about the performance of his investment with his personal racing record showcasing a number of important victories including The Boss Hog trophy as the star performer in the annual Airlie Beach Race Week.

Every race irrespective of the result is a reward for her skipper who laid his cash on the line to buy the small yacht ending a dispute between the builder and the original client.
The little yacht with the unusual name has justified her purchase price by providing endless hours of racing enjoyment for her happy crew who are determined to add further dollars to her resale value when the battle lines are drawn for class honours in the 2012 Airlie Beach Race Week later this year.

Meanwhile they are continuing to enjoy testing their handicap rated boat speed in the club point score races around the buoys and in the more demanding passage races around the Whitsunday Islands.

Enjoyment is the first priority when they step on board; with the respected honour of racing in a Wobbly Boot crew shirt focused on a high degree of the fun factor.

However, while they collectively maintain a sun tanned smile when hiking on the weather rail, the crew have been known to aggressively protect their sailing space which has paved the way to record a share of the major results.

While the Wobbly Boot crew have been known to express their knowledge of the racing rules friendly skipper Piccinelli has adopted the policy of what happens on the water stays on the water.

“After all sailing is all about having fun!” Craig said.

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Sir Robbo has a score to settle

Caloundra ‘Old Salt’ Bob Robertson would dearly love to win another Brisbane to Gladstone race before he dries out his salt encrusted sea boots.

During his three decades of ocean racing the well known Sunshine Coast owner/skipper has flown his ‘battle flag’ in numerous coastal classics including the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Sydney to Mooloolaba, Sydney to Gold Coast and the Brisbane to Gladstone classic.

He first burst onto the scene finishing third overall in the 1982 and 1983 Brisbane to Gladstone races with Hot Prospect II before helming the chartered New South Wales Farr 40 Sellers Witchcraft II to a close win over the Ian Kenny skippered The Gambler and the Arthur Bloore helmed Surefoot in 1987.

That win so long ago represents a career highlight for the veteran skipper who has owned many potential winners including Hot August Night, Queensland Maid, and Cracklin Rosie.

His personal cabinet also includes a Sydney to Hobart third place trophy with only one cup symbolising supremacy as the best overall corrected time performer in Queensland’s premier ocean race.

However, he has not given up the chase launching his latest challenger Lunchtime Legend last July to proudly represent Queensland in the 628nm Rolex Sydney Hobart eventually finishing 12th overall and third in Division 4 after a little over four tactically tantalising days at sea.

The Hobart Race result was an encouraging performance which has listed Bob Robertson and the Lunchtime Legend crew among the major contenders to win the 64-year-old The Courier Mail Cup over the Easter weekend.

Another win will be a fitting reward for the veteran campaigner who has the hard core experience of testing his tactical skill on what is described to be among Australia’s most challenging coastal passage races.

However Bob Robertson’s career results are respected, both he and the Lunchtime Legend crew are faced with a supreme test of their experience to log the required boat speed to finish ahead of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s high performance TP52 Shogun V (Robert Hanna) the Maroochy Sailing Club’s Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria V (Rod Jones) and eight time race winner Saltash II (Sandy Cavill).

All three radically different designed and handicapped yachts have the potential to spoil the party for the Lunchtime Legend crew. However, Bob Robertson remains confident.
“It will be a case of being on the pace and making the tactical options work in your favour. I personally feel we are in with a chance,” Robertson said.

As the past 63 races, from the first won by the John Bourne skippered Sea Prince in 1949 to when Marcus Blackmore steered Hooligan to her win on Easter Saturday in 2011, have proved to be a supreme test which suggests the battle to win the 2012 QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone title over the tactically demanding 308nm course over the Easter weekend will, despite the pre-race banter, eventually decide the best from the rest.

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Father and son chase Gladstone Race history

Peter Cavill and son Alexander have chartered the champion ocean racing sloop Saltash II to contest the 2012 Brisbane to Gladstone race.

Saltash II a modified yachting world Diamond class day sailor successfully co-skippered by the Wright brothers Ian and Bill to win The Courier Mail Cup on a record eight occasions is listed among the top chances to win the prestigious 64 -year-old trophy again.

The rather cramped crew accommodation below deck will be unfamiliar to Alexander Cavill but not for Peter who has been the navigator when the baby ocean racer proved her unmatched spinnaker sailing speed to claim a special place in Gladstone Race history.

There is no doubt that Peter Cavill will refer to his previous navigation notes while sharing the helming with the capable young skipper and former Australian Sabot champion Alexander.

The experienced navigator has previously explained that the winning formula is based around the boat speed reading from a portable GPS stowed in his pocket and the ability of the on-watch steerer to shoot the prevailing ocean swells.

This new generation challenge also shares a strong family bond with Alexander following the career of his grandfather Greg who steered Nocturne into second place behind the legendary Solo in 1958.

Besides winning many races on Saltash II, Peter Cavill holds the distinction of steering Silver Shamrock to the narrowest loss in race history when Ross Perrins skippered Scampi A to her tense 26 second win 1984.

All of this respected family history will enter an interesting new phase when Saltash II starts her chase to possibly record a ninth win when the start signal is fired at 11am on Good Friday morning.

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Glenn Bourke applies the masters touch

Hamilton Island’s Glenn Bourke and Sunshine Coast sailors Rod Jones and Greg McAllansmith survived on their tactical instincts to win the Australian SB3 Sports Boat championship on the River Derwent.

The exceptionally talented crew of one-design sailors, manning the deck of Club Marine Hamilton Island had previously won the Queensland and Victorian championships by convincing margins but were forced to come from behind in the ninth and final race to snatch the trophy from the grip of Mooloolaba skipper Phil Gray helming Dulon Polish by a slender one point margin.

Glenn Bourke regarded among Australia’s most successful One-design class racing tacticians and the winner of three World Laser championships only won one of the nine races but skilfully managed to protect his reputation with a final race third while the Phil Gray’s Dulon Polish crew of South Australian’s Jordan Spencer and Robin Deussen finished fifth.

This result ultimately proved the difference between the two crews leaving Phil Gray pondering over the result after they failed to finish race five with a broken boom.

The overall result, while being decided by the narrow single point, was a reward for sailing consistently in a mixed range of conditions from frustrating drifters to a hard hiking brute breeze on the final day where the Club Marine Hamilton Island trio of skipper Glenn Bourke relied on the talent of Rod Jones and Greg McAllansmith to finish with 24 points ahead of Dulon Polish 25 points.

Local skipper Nick Rogers, who like Phil Gray also won two races, helmed Toll Shipping to win the bronze medal with 46 points.