If anyone was on their first ocean race they well may be wondering what all the fuss is about when people speak of Bass Strait in reverential terms. No wind reduces it to just another piece of water, photos from the fleet this morning are glorious but it does look like a Mill Pond.
In the Devonport race the 40 footer Wicked played some excellent tactics by going to the East of the rhumbline and picking up more wind. Brian Pattinson in his Open 66 Gusto has hugged the rhumbline and is still just in front but not as far as would be expected. They need some breeze to bring them home if they are to be in before midnight tonight.
On the east coast they have just flapped around during the night. XLR8 are still in front passing the bottom of Wilsons Promontory followed by Cartouche, don’t be fooled by the way the tracker represents them. Tactically the race management team has them in second. They appear to have picked up a little wind this morning and will be hoping to get more as they progress to the east.
The real news from the night is that doing 33 Melbourne Hobarts does have its benefits. Robin Hewitt in his beloved Yoko has managed to seize the initiative during the night at some points leading the fleet, currently in second he is now just behind Spirit of Downunder, they are within view of each other. Laurie Ford skipper of Spirit must have had a nasty surprise at first light to look around and see the wiley fox Hewitt just off his bow. They are probably getting more wind than the other fleets but it is still light and Hewitt is taking advantage.
The handicap places on the west are all currently sitting with the smallest boat in the fleet, Richard Nichols Seduction from Mornington.