Hempel Gosford-Lord Howe Island 2013 - Record holder Merit pulls out

Record-holder Merit withdraws from Hempel Gosford-Lord Howe Island Race 2013
Tony Evans
Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race 2013 Race Committee is seeking interest from skippers of Cat 1 ready yachts as a possible replacement due to the unfortunate entry withdrawal last night of the race record holder VO60 Merit from this year’s event. Merit was to occupy one of the coveted deep draft moorings in the South Passage at Lord Howe at the conclusion of this year’s race.

As the race record holder, Merit was a high profile entry, however not a likely overall winning chance on IRC.

The competitive IRC fleet is still rated one of the best in recent times.

A notice has been sent out to all skippers whose entries could not previously be accommodated, but the GSC recognises that the logistics of a Cat 1 ocean race entry may not guarantee a replacement from this list.

The Merit withdrawal has come as a blow to the Race Committee, who have worked tirelessly to maximise the fleet numbers with very limited mooring accommodation.

Race Director Tony Evans was disappointed to receive the news from Merit owner Leo Rodriguez who said the decision was made with regret and for personal reasons.

‘We’ve done a lot of work to attract and accommodate smaller boats this year, however it’s the deep South Passage moorings that are the premium entry spots. We will be very lucky to find a substitute for Merit, but remain hopeful’. Evans said.

Working closely with the Lord Howe Island Board and the community has assisted the Race Committee in attaining maximum numbers.

In addition to the five Board provided visitor moorings, organisers have negotiated the usage of some private moorings inside the Lagoon for smaller boats entered and this has helped to hold the overall numbers up.

The shallow draft entry numbers have been pleasing for the GSC and a positive sign for the future.

Any skippers of Cat 1 race ready yachts should contact the Race Director immediately to register their interest

Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race website