Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Andoo Comanche (John Winning Jr) continues to lead the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this morning, but the other three 100-footers are keeping her honest, with LawConnect (Christian Beck) giving chase just nine nautical miles off Andoo Comanche’s transom.
Peter Harburg’s defending Line Honours champion, Black Jack and the Oatley family’s Hamilton Island Wild Oats, are not out of the picture either, a further five nautical miles behind as the top four continue to sail in good running conditions. Winning’s boat was travelling at 21 knots around 6am, but by 6.30am had picked up the pace to 26 knots.
The top four are sailing out to sea, well east of the rhumbline, 44 nautical miles behind LDV Comanche’s 2017 race record of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 secs, but it won’t take long to catch the record up today if the wind holds in as predicted.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects the north/north-easterly to build throughout the day to 33-plus knots, making for strong running conditions which may change up the results.
While competitors enjoy the thrill of sailing downwind, caution will come into play in the stronger winds to avoid breakages and damage to spinnakers. The old adage, “you have to finish to win” will be in the minds of those hoping to take Line Honours or win the race overall for the Tattersall Cup.
It’s early days for the overall results, but Sam Haynes’ TP52, Celestial, which finished second overall last year, has led the race for the Tattersall Cup since yesterday afternoon. Four other TP52s are hunting her; the US entry Warrior Won (Christopher Sheehan), Matt Donald/Chris Townsend’s Gweilo (NSW) and Caro, the New Zealand entry skippered by Max Klink.
It was quiet overnight, with no further retirements, leaving 107 boats at sea, inclusive of 19 two-handed entries.
Yesterday afternoon, the two-handed Avalanche (James Murchison/James Francis) retired with a broken bowsprit and later Louis and Marc Ryckman’s Yeah Baby was forced out after a sunfish damaged her rudder.
An obviously disappointed Murchison explained, “The boats were bunched up as happens in this race and I suddenly found myself with nowhere to go and our prod (bowsprit) hit the back of Llama II. It’s nobody’s fault, it just happens sometimes. I’ll just have to come back next year and try again.”
From Llama II, crew member Scott Alle, commented, “Clearing the Harbour was not without incident. Avalanche made a very late call and tried to duck us at the first mark but misjudged it and hit our stern. We did everything we could to avoid a collision and did a 720 (turn) and only have some minor cosmetic scraping.”
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