The race is a unique, longitudinal race which starts in the southern hemisphere in autumn and ends in the northern hemisphere in spring. It is the eighth time this two handed race has been conducted since 1987.
The Melbourne host will be the Sandringham Yacht Club, whilst Osaka Hokko Yacht Club will be attending to all the official formalities in Japan. The Ocean Racing Club of Victoria will be administering the on-water activities of Australia's longest category one yacht race.
The first official entry, Spirit of Downunder, is a 12.2m Cameron De Lange designed, fractional rig, launched in 1997. The boat is a full size replica of the international one meter radio controlled model yacht, designed by Gary Cameron in 1995.
Spirit of Downunder has had a very successful racing career finishing twenty- second out of a total of forty-five boats who completed the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race. The following year, Spirit of Downunder, competed in the 1999 Melbourne to Osaka Cup wining the racing division C - for yachts ten to twelve meters in overall length. Spirit of Downunder has been gradually refurbished since a buy back by the original owner in 2004 and won the ORCV 2006/2007 offshore championship.
A seasoned competitor, skipper Lawrence Ford, will use his ocean racing experience and knowledge gained in the last Osaka race to help him win the cup.
Spirit of Downunder sailing in the 2010 Melbourne Latitude Series.