HIGH TIMES: Pierre Gal and Doug Gayford will set sail for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race this year following the restoration of their yacht, Dolce.
HIGH TIMES: Pierre Gal and Doug Gayford will set sail for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race this year following the restoration of their yacht, Dolce.

Skippers set for Sydney to Hobart challenge

AFTER spending two years rebuilding their boat, a contingent of Coffs Harbour sailors are now planning their most ambitious mission to date - the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Pierre Gal and Doug Gayford will join a crew of 12 in December to contest the 630 nautical mile challenge, which is renowned for testing entrants with its high winds and difficult seas.

The race will mark three years since Pierre and Doug purchased the Inglis 47 vessel, which is one of just four of its kind ever built, including previous Sydney to Hobart winner Wild Thing.

"We bought it as an old racing boat and we spent about two years rebuilding it," Doug said.

"We ended up with a new deck and a complete rebuild to make it like a cruiser-racer.

"It used to be a pure racer.

"There were around 10 local retired guys helping us out - it became a local project."

While the owners have extensive experience behind them, Pierre said the Sydney to Hobart race posed unique challenges.

"It requires a lot of concentration and teamwork," Pierre said.

"In any one point in a race there can be five options. It's a matter of deciding which one to take - there's a lot of skill in that," Doug added.

The crew will be raising funds for domestic violence organisation White Ribbon and is currently seeking sponsorship.



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