ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART RACE – Five-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours winner,Wild Oats XI,is headed for her sixth title this morning in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual ocean classic after rounding the Tasman Island light at 0330 this morning and sailing west towards Storm Bay and Hobart for an 0830 ETA at the finish.
If that ETA eventuates,Wild Oats XIwill finish about 50 minutes outside her 2005 race record of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds.
Owned by Bob Oatley and skippered by Mark Richards, the 100-foot super maxi was on track for the record yesterday when she powered down the Tasmanian east coast at speeds of more than 24 knots before a strong north-easterly. At one stage she was about 30 nautical miles ahead of the 2005 record pace.
However, as she closed on the coast near Fortescue Bay last night, the north-easterly gave way to a weaker westerly, which also meant the race leader was in the lee of the land.
Wild Oats XI’s tactician Iain Murray had anticipated rounding Tasman at midnight, but she was not to do so until 0330am.
Syd Fischer’s maxiRagamuffin-Loyalis 40nm behind, a separation that fluctuated throughout yesterday. At one stage, Wild Oats XI was out by more than 50nm, but it reduced to about 20. This morning Fischer’s super maxi was 43 nautical miles astern of the leader.
Leading the race on handicap are Chris Bull’s well-performed Cookson 50 from NSW,Jazz, which is marginally ahead on corrected time of the Victorian yachtCalm, skippered by Jason Van der Slot NSW.
There have been two retirements in the race:Living Doll(Vic), which retired yesterday with a broken rudder in eastern Bass Strait and is heading to Eden with an ETA of 1200 tomorrow and Primitive Cool which retired this morning with a damaged mainsail. She is also heading to Eden with an ETA of 1500 today.
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