THE Whitsunday Sailing Club’s Ian Thomson was last week given a boost in his quest to sail solo around Australia to raise awareness for the growing problems being caused to the marine environment by plastic bags.
The Save Our Seas Ocean Racing (SOS) skipper was granted permission to use the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race as a trial run in the lead up to his world record attempt – allowing him to get vital practice and publicity in the lead up to his mid-year solo sail.
The iconic Queensland yacht race is normally the reserve of fully crewed racing yachts but given Thomson’s extensive sea faring experience and the cause for which he stands, organisers were willing to make an exception.
Although he has been allowed to use the Brisbane to Gladstone course as a platform for his campaign, Thomson and SOS won’t be competing in the race as such.
Instead, he will set off 15 minutes before the race fleet, allowing him to have the ocean, and the nation’s yachting media, to himself at the start line.
“[While I won’t be] part of the official race it gives me access to the entire media and spectator fleet all by myself which will give incredible coverage for my campaign and my sponsors,” Thomson said.
“I should be able to get to the Redcliffe rounding mark before the big guns catch me so all the people along the shoreline will also see my campaign.”
Having competed in the past five Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Races, Thomson’s knowledge of the course will be vital but doing the course solo will be a new challenge.
Thomson’s new boat, a 2007 custom Wellbourne 12m, is purpose built for short handed sailing and in last year’s race, actually finished in front of him.
Thomson was the skipper of the Farr 40 e11even in the 2009 event.
To follow SOS Racing’s progress on the road to the around Australia world record attempt, visit www.sosoceanracing.com.
During the Brisbane to Gladstone, the website will track Thomson’s position, updating his boat speed, position and estimated time of arrival on an imported Google map.
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