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Airlie Beach Race Week: 16 year old sloop Shiraz to make long haul to Whitsunday Islands

03-July-2012. Sunshine Coast Ocean racing skipper Dr David Leslie has again entered his comfortable 16 year old sloop Shiraz in the Whitsunday Sailing Clubs Telco in a box sponsored Airlie Beach Race Week.
Shiraz made the long haul into the Whitsunday Islands last year and from reports her crew including a group of long time sailing mates enjoyed what is affectionately known as the Tropical Shirt Regatta.

Skipper David Leslie had no trouble in selecting an experienced crew with friends Ian Griffiths and Peter Carter spending little time to pack their sea bag to accept what they regard as a nice opportunity to test their proven sailing skills in this aquatic destination known as the land of the 12 month summer.

Sure Shiraz may be regarded as an older generation racing yacht but her crew have the sailing experience to give notice to their Cruising class rivals representing clubs from Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland that they are not heading to Airlie Beach to top up their sun tan.

They will race under the Mooloolaba Yacht Club burgee and based on crew experience gained from racing in many of Australia‘s major ocean classics including the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the Brisbane to Gladstone the Shiraz crew of offshore veterans promise to keep Shiraz on the pace.

It has been quiet often said that the crew are not unlike a good quality bottle of Shiraz - maturing as the years slip pleasantly buy.

The Shiraz crew have selected to race in very competitive company with the fleet line honours expected to provide some close boat on boat tactical jousting between Don Algie’s Storm 2, Hammer of Queensland (David Molloy) and Eureka ll (Mal Robertson).

Sail power and waterline length favour this trio of big boats to fight out the first to finish title while the lower handicapped yachts including Shiraz have both the favourable rating and the collective crew skills to set the pace for the overall Cruising class championship.

Noosa River sports boat skippers Bob Mc Camley and David Hewitt will navigate the busy bitumen rhumbline to represent the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club at Airlie Beach.

Both skippers have made the commitment to test their tactical skills against an Australian championship standard fleet including the Mark Buchback skippered  Raptor which won the 2012 Queensland championship with a perfect score off Mooloolaba last month.

Raptor as expected has been nominated as the pre regatta favourite but Bob Mc Camley’s Slingshot and David Hewitt’s Wha-Ka have progressively improved to have the potential to feature in the battle for the minor place handicap results behind Raptor and the multiple New South Wales Australian sailing champion Peter Sorensen in Conquistador.