No elapsed record for Sydney Hobart

Published on December 27th, 2022

(December 27, 2022) – The 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet is revelling in the downwind run to Tasmania thanks to the prevailing north-to-north easterly winds from yesterday’s start.
 
By mid-afternoon today, the four maxis were continuing to make their charge across Bass Strait in their bid for Line Honours victory in the early hours of tomorrow morning and outside the race record of time of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds, set by LDV Comanche in 2017.
 
At 3:00 pm, Andoo Comanche (John Winning Jr) was still in the lead with 179 nautical miles to go to make the finish line in Hobart. It was 80 nautical miles east of St Helens Point and, like its main rivals, LawConnect, Black Jack, and Hamilton Island Wild Oats, was well east of the rhumb line.
 
Andoo Comanche was still in the box seat, but all four 100-footers were in contention to finish first in the 628 nautical mile race, organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
 
Andoo Comanche’s navigator, Justin Shaffer, said it was hard to predict a finish time, but added that they might reach the Iron Pot at the mouth of the Derwent River at about 10:00 pm.
 
Reporting 150 nautical miles from Tasman Island, Shaffer said: “It depends on the pressure between here and Tasman Light. We can’t see any of the other boats, but we believe LawConnect is around 20 miles behind.
 
“We’ve had a great night, a dream run. The crew is holding up well and so is the boat. We are in a 13 knot nor-easterly.”
 
While Andoo Comanche was in the box seat 10 nautical miles ahead of her rivals, the other three were still well in the race. Only three nautical miles separates second, third, and fourth placed boats.
 
The top four had spent all morning sailing at mid-20 knot speeds, but by lunch time they were averaging 16 to 17 knots. However, winds are expected to increase late this afternoon.
 
Anticipation remains high that by early morning the four boats will all find themselves on the 11 nautical mile run up the Derwent River, each vying for Line Honours.
 
Christian Beck, the owner and skipper of LawConnect, was in high spirits early this morning. While crossing Bass Strait at about 22 knots of boat speed, he projected a finish time of midnight. But that will no longer be the case.
 
“We track the competition pretty well. We know what they are doing on the tracker. We follow it religiously,” he told Channel 7’s Sunrise.
 
Asked if he felt LawConnect could claim Line Honours, he said: “We are going to try. You never know when you get into the Derwent. All the boats have a chance at the moment.”
 
Earlier, LawConnect sailing master Tony Mutter was equally positive as they sailed with the other maxis in sight.
 
“We had a pretty decent morning coming across Bass Strait,” he said.
 
Mutter was expecting the winds to strengthen later today, but was unsure if the crew would make any sail changes to optimize their chances.
 
“We’ll see what the timing is like,” Mutter said. “Obviously, if you do a sail change you have a bit of down time so you’ll need to make up your miles lost.
 
“So, we’ll try and judge how long the 30-plus knot weather is, or if we just ride it out with what we’ve got which is a bit marginal; or we change down a gear and approach it that way.”
 
Meanwhile, further back in the fleet, Steve Kemp, a veteran of 23 Sydney Hobarts and navigator on the David Gotze-owned and skippered Reichel Pugh 63, No Limit, was happy.
 
“Good running conditions this morning with low 20s now. Team had more freeze dried this morning – chicken is the favorite,” reported Kemp.
 
On the first day at sea, only two boats retired from the fleet. The two-handed Avalanche (James Murchison/James Francis) retired with a broken bowsprit and Louis and Marc Ryckman’s Yeah Baby with rudder damage from a sunfish strike.
 
This afternoon, the fleet was reduced to 106 boats with the retirement of the TP52 Koa, co-owned by Peter Wrigley and Andy Kearnan, after losing its rudder and calling for assistance.
 
The Anthony Kirke and Andrew Nuttman-owned Botin/Carkeek GP42, Enterprise Next Generation from Western Australia, went to stand by Koa to offer any help. Meanwhile, NSW Water Police were dispatched to help the yacht.
 
All crew on Koa were reported as safe and sound. The Race Committee of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has this afternoon lodged a Request for Redress for Enterprise Next Generation, which will be held at 1600 hours on December 29.

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The 628 nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is the 77th edition in 2022 and had a fleet of 109 boats for the start on December 26. One hundred fifty seven teams set off in 2019, but since then the 2020 race was cancelled due to the pandemic with 88 entries in 2021.

From the start in Sydney Harbour, the fleet sails out into the Tasman Sea, down the south-east coast of mainland Australia, across Bass Strait (which divides the mainland from the island State of Tasmania), then down the east coast of Tasmania. At Tasman Island the fleet turns right into Storm Bay for the final sail up the Derwent River to the historic port city of Hobart.

Sail GP

Source: RSHYR

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