Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race - The Gosford Sailing Club (GSC) has been inundated with quality entries for the 39th Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race and Race Director Tony Evans says there will be a lot of tough decisions to make when selecting the final race fleet as entries close on the 22nd February.
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The race is exclusive for several reasons, not the least of which is the lack of moorings for deep draft (greater than 2.3m) boats at the finish on Lord Howe Island.
At this point the GSC has received interest from no fewer than six previous overall winners of the race, four former line honours winners, the course record holder (VO60 Southern Excellence via a rounding mark off Terrigal) and a two time Australian IRC Champion.
Pleasing also to the Race Director is the category of entry he refers to as the ‘Lord Howe Special’ and two of these are likely to contest the race this year.
To elaborate, this is a reference to a competitive IRC 50 footer with a lift keel that allows access into the LHI Lagoon and this type of boat is virtually a walk up start in any G2LHI race, so this is an important boost considering the deep mooring restrictions.
It appears that the race date change from October to April has generated the interest anticipated by the Gosford Club and this should ensure the highest quality race fleet in a decade for the event.
Whilst the renewed interest is great news for the GSC and the race, mooring restrictions cap the number of entries and the organising committee will be looking to select the highest quality and most competitive yachts available.
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A further impost for the organisers of this year’s event is that traditionally, early April is not as quiet for the tourism industry on the Island as the old race (end October) date and this may mean some alternative accommodation strategies to fit the crew members on the Island.
To assist entrants in this area, the GSC will make some early selection decisions so that crews can lock away their lodgings, so it would be prudent for any prospective competitor to submit their entries to the GSC forthwith.
The official race fleet is expected to be announced immediately after the Feb 22 deadline for entries.