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Cooke hungry for fifth Sydney to Hobart

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Fleta Page

Ian Cooke, left, and Noel Sneddon at the helm of Inca as it enters Bass Strait.

Ian Cooke, left, and Noel Sneddon at the helm of Inca as it enters Bass Strait. Photo: Phil Brierley

Ian Cooke says the Sydney to Hobart is five days of being uncomfortable, cold and miserable, but that won't stop him from racing it for the fifth time come Boxing Day.

Cooke will be joined in the eight-man crew of CIC Technology Inca by his two sons, 28-year-old Michael, racing his third Sydney to Hobart, and 20-year-old Nicholas, who will be doing the gruelling race for the first time.

''I'm looking forward to it, I always do - when you're out there you don't really enjoy it I don't think,'' Cooke said.

''It's bloody uncomfortable - it's cold and it's miserable, but it's really good fun, I suppose, achieving something, coming out the other end knowing that you've done a pretty good job, so I'm looking forward to getting there, looking forward to finishing it.''

The Narrabundah family have been spending their weekends in Sydney preparing for the ocean race, practising offshore and running through the safety drills in the 41 foot Vickers 41, owned by friend and skipper Noel Sneddon.

Their best result was third on handicap in the PHS Division 2 in 2010, a mark they're hoping to beat, but will be relying on the weather gods to help them beat the faster lightweight boats.

''The meteorologist who predicts these things says it's going to be a bit rough, but the forecast for the moment is not too bad, but you can't sail five days down that way and not get hit at least once,'' he said.

''If the weather suits us, which it looks as though it may, we should do OK … if the weather's a bit rough, then we'll probably do much better because we're a heavier boat.

''It handles really nasty weather very well and very safely, which is one of the reasons I'm happy to sail on it down to Hobart. The light boats - to me you're too much on the edge I think.''

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