After rapid initial progress southward from Sydney in the 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race, the big boat leaders on the water are being slowed by a large area of light airs off Australia’s southeast corner, and the smaller craft are making hay as they continue to carry the fair wind which sent the fleet on their way in classic style from Sydney Heads.
The mighty hundred footer Comanche (Jim Cooney & Samantha Grant) did well to take over the line honours lead by choosing a course to the eastward of other fleet pace-setters, but this evening at 1800 hrs Irish time a carefully selected route down the middle or even slightly to the west seems to be paying off.
It’s certainly working big time for the sole Irish entry, the First 40 HYC Breakthrough (Darren Wright, Howth YC). For much of the day, HYC Breakthrough was placed at 14th in Division 6 and 25th overall. But the tactics of the Howth crew in seeking the best breezes have paid off with the boat making a breakthrough and currently ranking as 11th overall in IRC in the 157-strong fleet, and 7th in Division 6 in the midst of some very tightly-packed times, having overtaken three other First 40s during the past four hours.
But with 495 miles still to race and several different wind permutations being suggested by forecasters, this is developing as a Hobart Race for those who are tops with patience, persistence – and good luck.
Race tracker here