Matt Allen’s Botin 52 Ichi Ban is now safely across the finish line in Hobart to correct into the Sydney Hobart overall leader position after completing the 628-mile course in just 2 days 6 hours and 18 minutes, despite stages of the race being plagued by light and flukey winds.
Ichi Ban’s strong overall placing was indicated by the fact that she was very well up the fleet at 11th on line honours, finishing among much larger boats. In the end, as he made a workmanlike job of dealing with the tricky final miles in the Derwent River, Ichi Ban Sailing Master Gordon Maguire’s only real challenger was another TP 52, Matt Donald & Chris Townsend’s Gweilo from New South Wales.
Gweilo rates exactly the same as Ichi Ban on 1.403, but even with a breeze to speed things up covering the ground, Gweilo was all of 34 minutes astern at the finish.
With 15 boats finished as of noon Irish time, the onset of darkness in Hobart has seen the bite go from the breeze, and the next boats due in are currently showing slow speeds as the traditional “Derwent Drift” sets in. Thus Ichi Ban’s position is looking good, but some very low-rated boats far at sea still have a chance of toppling her if some slightly unlikely wind scenarios develop.
Meanwhile, the only all-Irish contender, Darren Wright’s First 40 HYC Breakthrough, is currently one of the fastest boats in Division 6, listed as making 7.7 knots with 164 miles to sail. Only one boat in class – the new Lombard 34 Mistral (Pierre Gal) – is showing better speed, but Breakthrough retains sixth in class, just 11 miles astern of the leader in a 20-boat class in which the competition is very hot indeed.