The lovely 21 year-old maxi Brindabella has been forced to retire from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this evening, a sixth victim of the bone shaking conditions off the New South Wales coast this afternoon.
Brad Kellett, Brindabella’s sailing master, reported that while he was doing his regular checks this evening he discovered larger than normal quantities of water in the bottom of the boat, found to be coming from damaged rudder bearings.
“We were just coming into our own after a risky tactical decision to go offshore paid off,” a disappointed Kellett said. “We have ended our regular watch patterns and everyone is up on deck for safety. No–one is hurt.”
A short time later, the Salona 44 Last Tango also retired. She had earlier been forced to divert to Botany Bay to land a crew member with a suspected hernia, but not long after returning to the race the yacht suffered sail damage. The crew member is in St George Hospital.
Both Brindabella and Last Tango will return to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia later tonight or very early tomorrow morning.
The 110 remaining yachts continue to pound their way down the New South Wales coast in fresh southerly winds and short, steep seas. The fleet is spread from Botany Bay to 20 miles south of Jervis Bay, where the American super maxi Comanche holds a mile and a half lead over Wild Oats XI, with Perpetual Loyal a further three miles astern and Ragamuffin 100 another three miles back.
Hot on the heels of the maxis are the V70s Giacomo and Black Jack, which are enjoying a monumental match race of their own while keeping up the pressure on the more fragile 100 footers.
Interestingly, four leading boats are ahead of Wild Oats XI’s 2012 record position at this stage of the race. However, while Wild Oats XI benefited from a strong northerly on the second day that year the lead boats are sailing into softer winds on a sloppy seaway.
By Jim Gale, RSHYR media