Sailors ready to face Osaka double-handed race  

NEWCASTLE sailor Ivan Macfadyen is hoping the good karma created in an  exchange for the Melbourne to Osaka Double-Handed Yacht Race pays off when he attempts the 5500 nautical mile for the second time.

Mr Macfadyen, 56, and Melbourne sailing partner Will Parbury, 37,  are hosting Japanese sailors Kiochi Mori, 62, and Yasuyuki Natkaji, 61, who have stopped in Newcastle  on their way to Port Melbourne for the race start in March.

Mr Mori and Mr Natkaji, who are attempting the race for the first time, arrived on Tuesday in Newcastle and are expected to leave  in the next two days on their yacht Southern Cross.

Mr Natkaji said he was enjoying his stay in the Hunter, which has included an Aussie barbecue dinner at Mr Macfadyen’s home.

He and Mr Mori will leave Southern Cross on Port Melbourne and catch a flight home for Christmas before returning for the event.

Mr Macfadyen finished seventh in 2003, at his first attempt.

The race  was first held in 1987 to celebrate the relationship between Melbourne and Osaka.

With then wife Sibby  they crashed onto rocks 32 miles from Osaka but escaped and scrambled to the line while pumping water from the  damaged  bow.

This time around Mr Macfadyen has recruited Mr Parbury, a sailing instructor, via an advertisement on the internet.

‘‘I think we’re going to give it a really good shot this time.’’ Mr Macfadyen said.

The pair leave on January 26 for Port Melbourne.

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