Tasmania’s second entrant in the Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race, Force Eleven, will set sail tomorrow (Sunday) with the main body of the fleet in the double-handed, 5,500 nautical mile ocean race to Japan.
Sailed by Tristan Gourlay and Jamie Cooper, the modified Adams 11.9m sloop will join 15 of the 19-boat fleet in starting from Sandringham Yacht Club in the staggered start for the marathon voyage.
Watching the start from the sailing training brigantine Young Endeavour will be Gourlay’s father Ken, who in 2007 completed a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world.
The Launceston-based Ken Gourlay is the only Tasmanian to have achieved this feat and the oldest and fastest Australian to do so.
Also aboard Young Endeavour will be Jessica Watson, who in 2010, at the age of 16, completed a southern hemisphere solo non-stop circumnavigation.
First away, early last week, was Morning Mist, an S&S34 sailed by Tasmanians Jo Breen and Peter Brooks, followed by a Japanese and a West Australian yacht.
At last report, Morning Mist was making excellent time up the Australian East Coast with an ETA at Osaka in late April.
As part of their preparation for the race to Osaka, the equivalent of eight back-to-back Sydney Hobarts, Morning Mist and Force Eleven competed in the Maria Island and Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster races.
Force Eleven won the double-handed division of the Westcoaster on handicap while Morning Mist placed sixth.
Words & photos: Peter Campbell
24 March 2018