ADVENTURE: Utopia's Steve Evans and John Fletcher with ORCV's Martin  Vaughan.
ADVENTURE: Utopia's Steve Evans and John Fletcher with ORCV's Martin Vaughan. Tracey Johnstone

Pair to sail 5000 miles, then they'll sail 500 more

SAILING: Coast skipper John Fletcher and crew Steve Evans will team up to compete in next year's 5,500 mile Melbourne to Osaka two-handed yacht race.

The Easter weekend Brisbane to Gladstone Race was the first time the two mates have raced together, but both are experienced ocean men and there will be several short-handed sails for them, including a 430 mile qualifying race-conditions sail, over the coming months as they prepare for the race.

"We will be sailing as much as we can from now on,” Fletcher said.

This week they were visited by the Osaka race organising committee chair Martin Vaughan who discussed the race with the two competitors and did a quick visual over their yacht, the 17m Utopia.

Evans, 63, is more attuned to power boats, but the Solas Propeller business owner, said the Osaka race was on his bucket list.

"I have done a lot more power boating and fishing all my life, but my family had a boat business here and I used to sail as a kid,” Evans said.

This is his first Osaka race for Fletcher since dreaming of doing it when the race was first held.

The 62-year-old, who owns Utopia, is confident that between Evans' ocean nounce and his considerable ocean racing experience, the team will get a good result.

The 8th race has attracted 31 entries plus another five on the waiting list. The fleet will have a staggered start so that all boats will finish about the same time.


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