Darren Wright’s First 40 HYC Breakthrough has had a good day of it in the closing sections of the Rolex Sydney-Hobart with the forecast nor’easter fulfilling its promise. With 20 miles to go, the Howth crew in the only all-Irish entry were revelling in the sailing, enjoying speed bursts of 11 knots and more in a performance which has brought them back up to sixth in Division 6, and 10th overall in the IRS Corinthian Division.
But as Sunday evening settles in on Hobart in Tasmania, the inevitable easing of the breeze close inshore is already taking place. Although the leaders in Division 6 are closing in on the finish line in the heart of the city’s waterfront, when French/Australian Pierre Gal (NSW) and a crew of all the talents on the new Lombard 34 crossed first on the water at 19:11:00 hrs local time (09:11 in Ireland), the blistering pace they’d been setting for much of the day had been reduced to three knots.
Close together with 2 miles to go are the Tasmanian Div 6 handicap leader Willie Smith’s Philosopher (Shaun Tiedemann) and Phil Moloney’s Papillon, an Archambault 40, both still carrying breeze and making 7 knots. They’re followed by the First 40.7 Ocean Crusaders and the First 40 Mayfair, and with HYC Breakthrough (now with 18 miles to go) sixth on the water and sixth on handicap, she is achieving one of her crew’s ambitions in being in the top three in the flotilla of First 40s.
But although they’ve the very solid margin of a 20 miles lead on the next boat (for Breakthrough really lived up to her name during this Sunday’s sailing) the notorious “Derwent Drift” in the final miles to the finish is likely to settle in as night falls, and this Corinthian crew of well-tested HYC shipmates is going to need patience and skill to reach the line in a time which is in keeping with the rest of today’s sparkling performance.