Crash bang coming through! Some of our competitors caused dramas on the start line of the Melbourne to Hobart and Melbourne to Devonport ocean races, with four yachts caught up in collisions. They mustn’t have got the memo about it being a long race so 15 seconds on the start line probably doesn’t matter. Luckily winds were moderate but it was still enough to cause an early retirement of BKT JAMHU which was taking on water as a result of their collision. No doubt it will be a busy protest room in Hobart after the race, see our Facebook site for video of the start.
Experienced competitors such as Yoko and Cadibarra 8 avoided the crowds at the start line, the clean air saw Cadibarra 8 lead the fleet out of the heads. It was glorious conditions allowing Spinnakers to fly and a fast pace set. It was great to see Magique, Pheonix, More Noise and Summer Wind flying spinnakers in their first Christmas Ocean race as well as the blistering pace of our lone multi hull entrant Peccadillo. Our two handed competitors Double Trouble and Lord Jiminy also got off to a flying start, unfortunately for Lord Jiminy they were flying a bit too fast and tried to take Archie with them to Hobart.
Things soon settled down with the fleets splitting. One for the Road have reported steering problems, they were forced to make running repairs to their steering which cost them an hour or so. Fortunately the whole fleet is well prepared for such things, with spares, tools and back up steering if need be.
The Hobart fleet have set a record pace, as of Wednesday 9am most of the fleet were past the top of Tasmania with Lord Jiminy just ahead of Cadibarra 8 about half way down the Tasmanian coast. There are some great battles going on in the fleets, such as Summer Wind and Caledonia, two Bavaria 40s in the Devonport race. Peccadillo is flying in the Devonport race, leading the fleet and should finish today, late afternoon/early evening.
Wind forecasts are showing a lighter Easterly flow with pockets of challenging wind patterns, its going to be a tactical navigators race to Hobart that’s for sure with the Derwent sure to challenge.
For those who will be in Hobart for the finish, give Robin Hewitt’s Yoko a huge cheer as it completes it’s 35th Melbourne to Hobart West Coaster and crew member Patricia (Trish) Peart being the first woman to have completed 25 Melbourne to Hobarts, a fantastic achievement for any competitor. Trish is quite a role model for women in sailing, great effort.
Thanks to Steb Fisher and Lafoto for use of photos in this article