Bill Wild with Courier Mail Cup.

Merit for Hobart

Leo Rodriguez has again entered the former Volvo Globe race sloop Telcoinabox Merit in the gruelling 628nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Both he and the delivery crew face a long journey from the warm tropical environment of Airlie Beach to Sydney before preparing for another race over a cold and inhospitable Tasman Sea simply to record one more Hobart Race in their personal log books.
However, the accomplished blue water crew who will race under the Whitsunday Sailing Club burgee as they did when they won the Performance Handicap trophy in 2008 understand what to expect when the weather mood swing turns nasty at sea.
Their 2008 victory was not without incident with skipper Leo Rodriguez being the first skipper to render assistance when the Victorian crew on the former champion New Zealand sloop Georgia sent an urgent distress call.
The Georgia crew advised race officials they were preparing to abandon the sinking yacht. However, expert seamanship allowed the Telcoinabox Merit crew to complete a successful rescue mission. They simply did not hesitate when the initial May Day call alerted all the crews that one of their own was in need of help.
Unfortunately Georgia was lost but the crew, apart from enduring a frightening experience, were safely transferred to a police launch at sea while the Whitsunday crew again set a course for Hobart.
Collectively the warm tropical water sailors were all rewarded with the experience of sailing up the River Derwent to enjoy a deserved cold Cascade while skipper Leo Rodriguez officially lodged his declaration and consideration for redress involving the hours of race time lost during the rescue.
As expected the claim for time allowance was favourably received with the Whitsunday Sailing Club crew claiming a special place in Rolex Sydney Hobart Race history when they were officially announced as the overall Performance Handicap class champion.
Naturally the tactical notes plus the memory from the dramatic rescue of the Georgia crew will again be revisited when the 13-year-old Volvo around the World racer sets a course to weather Sydney’s South Head on Boxing Day.

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Angus MacGregor’s sailing award

Tinaroo Sailing Club’s Angus MacGregor had a deserved smile on his face when he was named as the 2010 Yachting Australia disabled Sailor of the Year in Sydney last month.
The 15-year-old who suffers from Cerebral Palsy expressed his personal determination and tactical racing skill to recently win the 2.3m Access class World championship in Rutland, England.
Angus sailing in an unfamiliar environment and a colder climate compared with the pleasant racing conditions on the picturesque Tinaroo Dam won seven of the eight World championship races against older and more experienced competitors.

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Change of pace for Bill Wild

Bill Wild the 2010 Brisbane to Gladstone race champion will represent Queensland in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race starting on Boxing Day.
The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron skipper is familiar with testing his tactical skill and endurance against the storm tormented Tasman Sea steering the high performance sloop Wedgetail to regularly finish with the best 12.9m class result.
Wedgetail last raced to Hobart in 2008 where she completed the 628nm classic with the impressive 9.85 knot average speed.
Bill Wild has recently placed Wedgetail on the market and has bought the champion New South Wales sloop Yendys from former Sydney Hobart winner Geoffrey Ross with the ambition to hopefully become the first owner skipper to win the Brisbane to Gladstone and the Sydney Hobart races in the same year.

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Mooloolaba back on the Map

Ray Roberts the popular Cruising Yacht Club of Australia ocean racing skipper who holds the distinction of winning the 2006 Sydney to Mooloolaba Race would like to defend his trophy.
Skipper Roberts like so many other prominent Australian bluewater racing yachtsmen remains keen to support a new launch of the tactically demanding Sydney-Mooloolaba coastal classic onto the Australian circuit.
Unfortunately the event, which attracted a record fleet of 79 yachts in 1979 including Australia’s best crews, lost a place on the national ocean racing calendar when the Mooloolaba Yacht Club fell into financial trouble.
Sure fleet numbers had also fallen away due to the shoaling of the Mooloolah River entrance, however, while this was considered to be dangerous the destination still remains as one of Australia’s most popular sailing ports.
When Ray Roberts skippered the DK 46 Quantum Racing to the overall win over the Victorian yachts Flirt and XLR8 he described the experience among his best results.
At that time the 34th Sydney to Mooloolaba race had established a significant history with many of Australia’s more famed yachts including Apollo, Helsal, Sovereign, Brindabella, Bobsled and Skandia Wild Thing having their names engraved on the line honours trophy; while Cadence, Ragamuffin, Public Nuisance, Klinger, Scampi A, Storm Bay and Quantum Racing stand as the most prominent winners on corrected handicap.
This important Australian ocean race will continue to remain unchallenged unless the restructured Mooloolaba Yacht Club decides to add another signature event to their racing calendar.
Meanwhile, the elected Flag Offices and members of the Mooloolaba Yacht Club understand what the commercial value of the race means to the local community.
Their energy and enthusiasm is already expressed with the hosting of the successful Musto Australasian Etchells championship over the Queen’s birthday holiday weekend.
They also have plans in place to extend this regatta into a Mooloolaba Race Week which leaves a pre-Easter time slot as the most ideal starting date.
Owners from southern States have already completed their race diaries for the winter circuit, however, they remain interested in the possibility of the Sydney to Mooloolaba being added as the official delivery race for the Brisbane to Gladstone.
This will provide Ray Roberts with the opportunity to defend his 2006 Sydney to Mooloolaba race win while also re-establishing the busy and friendly Sunshine Coast port back into the annals of Australian yacht racing.

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Legendary Logbook

Whitsunday Sailing Club life member Jim Hayes has continued to express his unique personal passion to encourage local sailors young and old to enjoy sailing on Pioneer Bay. He has been responsible for introducing the club’s successful Try Sailing days which have ultimately set up a career in the sport for a number of local sailors.
Hayes a self-taught sailor who first braved the cold elements of Tasmania, followed the compass bearing north to a warmer sailing environment in Brisbane before heading further north to now name Airlie Beach as his ‘port of call’. Very few seafarers could blame him from breaking the shackles from his place of birth to enjoy a sailing lifestyle in a pleasant environment.
There have been many highlights in his career including an Australian community award, his WSC Life Membership medal and patron of the Australian Sabot championship held at Airlie Beach.
Sure Jim Hayes is proud of these awards but it has been his ‘love of the sport’ that has become the principal role behind his contribution to encouraging, teaching and personally training others to enjoy their time afloat.
Naturally when time permits Jim Hayes enjoys the challenge of fleet racing with his Corsair class sailing mate Bruce Carter. The Corsair ‘old salts’ showed they were on the pace when they combined with the exceptionally talented teenager Klaus Lorenz to win the Australian championship Silver Medal on Brisbane’s Bramble Bay in 2008.
According to skipper Bruce Carter and tactician Jim Hayes they entered the championship as a fun thing but that naturally changed when the sails were tensioned.
A similar element of dedication is applied when Jim Hayes accepts a voluntary role as the local knowledge expert with the Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week regatta management team. He takes part of his annual holidays to be on the course setting start lines and rounding marks along with Principal Race officer Tony Denham.
Collectively the regatta management team including regatta director Denis Thompson, Tony Denham and the Wilson twins Ross and Kevin, who have established Airlie Beach Race Week as a major event on the Australian sailing calendar, have learnt to value the personal contribution of local knowledge from Jim Hayes