2019 King Island race got off to a clean start
The 2019 Melbourne to King Island race got off to a clean start at 11pm last night although Escapade was a little late to the action and didn’t clear the line until approximately 2310. With the wind coming from the east the fleet headed straight down the rhumb line in good reaching conditions. By 3:00am those yachts who had veered to the west of the rhumb line began making their way to the east in anticipation of the south easterly breeze forecast for Saturday morning which is expected to reach up to 20 knots in Northern Bass Strait. At around 4:00am the bigger boats, namely Hartbreaker, Carerra S, Cartouche, Extasea and Lord Jiminy, who had established a good lead had this quickly evaporate as the wind dropped out and their speeds fell from 7-8 knots down to 1-3 knots. This will have had skippers of the smaller boats rubbing their hands together as the fleet compressed. One boat to do particularly well as the wind went soft was the 36ft two handed entry Maverick who have stuck to the rhumb line like glue and between 3 and 6 am overtook their larger rivals Arcadia, Archie, Wicked and Jaffa.
At 8:00am the fleet is spread over about 7 nautical mile, a little over an hours sailing in good breeze for the slowest boats in the fleet. Speeds have lifted back to 5-7 knots but with a fair bit of south in the wind no-one is able to hold their course to the finish line and crews will be hoping it swings back east before reaching Cape Wickham to avoid the pain of tacking down the island’s coast. On AMS Weekend Option is currently in the lead followed by Vertigo and Addiction, for IRC Vertigo leads followed by Maverick and Archie. Winds remain light at King Island and are expected to have headed round to the North East by late afternoon so another compression of the fleets is likely which will favour the small boats in the 22 boat fleet.
By Calum Brenan
Photo from Rod Smallman, onboard MAVERICK at sunrise on Saturday 9 March, 2018. LORD JIMINY in the distance.