She first contested the race in and last contested in and when she failed to finish. This time she made it. This writer admired Landfall on her Hobart mooring for decades. It was the boat to own. One look at her and you, too, will be smitten. Of the start fleet of 88, 83 have made it to the finish line, despite the last two days dogged by the doldrums down the Tasmanian east coast, across Storm Bay and up the River Derwent.
The five retirements — Dare Devil broken rudder , Freyja blown headsail , Koa broken starter motor , Patrice broken rudder and Wild Oats XI damage to the hydraulic ram operating the canting keel — occurred in the first half of the race.
The rest made it through. After third-placed Scallywag crossed the line all three broke the race record , they shut the door behind them, the wind died and the rest of the fleet wallowed. Down the river, fast closing in at the mouth of the river, another three boats, Black Jack, Maserati, and Beau Geste were moving along nicely, still with a chance to break the old record themselves. But the rain arrived in Hobart when Scallywag finished and the breeze bid everyone good night.
With the lights of Hobart in sight, the three spent the rest of the night drifting aimlessly. This left the door open, for the yachts still at sea, to come home, while the big boats wallowed in the river. How fast yachts negotiated the last stretch of the race, with the weather conditions they are dealt and the notoriously tricky passage up the Derwent River, proved decisive.
This has paid off in the end and arriving at the tricky patches during daylight hours and catching up with the bigger boats in the river, has earned them third overall in IRC and victory under the ORCi system, on their first attempt.
As the low pressure system to the West of Tasmania, that bought them the thrilling downwind, reaching conditions, is moving off to the SE below Tassie, into the Southern Ocean and left the remaining yachts struggling in the light, wet, unstable NE quadrant. It's a race of two halves and uncharacteristically enables us to predict the podium places at this early stage Two days into the race before the official announcement is made.
Crossing the Hobart finish line at Illingworth Trophy and smashes Wild Oats XI previous race record by 4 hours 51 minutes and 52 seconds, in this year's nautical mile dash from Sydney to Hobart. In terms of overall IRC provisional standings, the clock has started ticking.
Further twists and turns are expected in the coming hours. Everything is still to play for, as they power down the coast at knots boat speed but as they say in the classics, it's not over till the 'fat lady' sings.
RSH Race Record in sight, if finish before Uncharacteristically two low pressure systems are hovering in the Australian Bight, to the West of Tasmania and two high pressure systems in the Tasman Sea, to the East of Tassie, are generating strong NE and Easterly winds and powering the fleet in downwind reaching conditions. It's the first time in many years that this is possible. Then it could get tricky, in the lee of the land, on the 11 nautical miles, upstream to the finish line in Hobart.
Notoriously the wind shuts down at night and over the years, many teams have watched their winning chances, washed away in the current. Wild Oats XI out, 6 yachts still on record pace This morning, approaching the north-east coast of Flinders Island in eastern Bass Strait, she suffered damage to the hydraulic ram that adjusts the angle of the canting keel.
The crew were able to manually centre and stabilise the keel, but retired from the race and are heading for Eden. Overnight an unprecedented 24 boats were sailing on Sydney-Hobart record pace, as they flew down the east coast of Australia in favourable Northerly winds, with eight-time winner and favourite Wild Oats XI in the lead.
The leaders had to negotiate a Southerly front and transition period, as they came out the other side. The wind then turned South Easterly, then clocked back to a 15 knot Easterly, to set them on the way again. New Zealand's Giacomo is running second but leading the race on corrected time. Throughout the afternoon and evening the super-maxis have enjoyed 20 to 30 knots NNE breeze and making great progress, in sight of each other.
The bewitching hour came when approaching Eden, as the Southerly front blocked their record breaking passage. Initially down to 3 knots boatspeed and increasing to 6 and 8, as they negotiated their way to windward, through a disturbed system. This is a quick changing system and by morning, the leaders should be reaching along in a building 15 knot Easterly, across Bass Strait and the rest of the race down the Tassie coast and into Hobart.
Lees says everyone on board is disappointed but no-one was hurt and he is still determined to take Freyja to Hobart for the wooden boat festival in February. One of the pre race favourites Tony Kirby's Ker 46 Patrice, has also broke their rudder, reducing the fleet to They're off on a Sleigh Ride to Hobart Another spectacular start to the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Race , streamed on all channels, internet and even on YouTube Follow them on the Live Tracking as they surf downwind, possibly all the way to Hobart, for a change.
Amongst the 88 teams taking part this year, there are 3 from China, one each from Japan and Korea, plus three that have strong ties to racing in Asian waters. Also three to watch, with strong links to racing in Asian waters and have a good record on the Hobart Race, are Karl Kwok's Kiwi registered Botin 80 Beau Geste skippered by Aaron Rowe this year, have won before in Regularly competing on the Asian Circuit since , Ray Roberts finished 2nd in , this time is racing Farr 55, Hollywood Boulevard Ex Living Doll and won't give up until he wins one race.
Some of the crew on Bruce Taylor's Caprice 40, Chutzpah, son Drew Taylor and Peter Fletcher have strong ties to Hong Kong and regularly race on the Asian Circuit, would like to go one better than 2nd overall last year. Recent weather predictions, indicate a solid north-easterly at start time, so the yachts should enjoy a fast downwind sleigh ride, south from Sydney. Although practice, planning and execution are key to winning, one of the epic blue water races in the world, from past experience, go easy on the rice dishes and Christmas celebrations, as you might have an 'Up and Under' after leaving Sydney Harbour.
A true test of skill, stamina and seamanship, comes with the weather conditions and will put all crews to the ultimate test. Check out the start line action from - AEST