In the closest contest in the history of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the four remaining super maxis in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race were separated by just five nautical miles this morning - Comanche leading the way
Jim Cooney, who hails from Bolliver in County Meath, and Samantha Grant’s Comanche are off record pace, 34nm behind her record of last year, but lead the pack from the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI, with Mark Richards at the helm. Peter Harburg’s Black Jack and Christian Beck’s InfoTrack have taken the inside lane closer to the rhumb line as they try to slip past the two leaders.
The four yachts are south-east of Gabo Island in Victoria, ready to sail across Bass Strait this morning.
Chris Links reported from Wild Oats XI this morning: “We crossed tacks with Comanche a couple of times this morning between 3 and 4am. We can just see Black Jack too. There’s nothing in it. We’re doing 18 knots in a northerly of 15 knots. We’re on the edge of Bass Strait – entering it.”
Links conceded, “This is the closest race we’ve been in – we’ve been in close races with Comanche before, but never been in such a close race with four of us.”
It is early days to talk overall contenders, but it will be no surprise to anyone that Matt Allen’s TP52, Ichi Ban, continues to lead the race for the Tattersall Cup. Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40 Chutzpah is revelling in the conditions she was built for, and is currently in second place from the Carkeek 60, Winning Appliances and Ray Roberts’ Farr 55, Hollywood Boulevard.
Carl Crafoord reported from his and Tim Horkings’ Sail Exchange this morning: “We are going great,” he said from 10th overall. “We’re first in Division (3). We’re gybing in current, 30 miles off Bermagui with Enterprise (the modified Farr 40 owned by Anthony Kirke). All well on board – we’ve had a good night.”
A fourth retirement from the race overnight, with M3 Team Hungary, led by Roni Ormandlaki, suffering a broken rig and on her way back to Sydney. She joins other early retirements, Zen (NSW), Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (Hong Kong) and Patriot (Vic), leaving the fleet at 81 and nine internationals.