Rolex Sydney Hobart – Spirits remain high on URM Group in tight race for third

The fight for third place on Line Honours in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is unravelling into a thriller, with URM Group looking ahead and behind at their rivals.

While buoyed after taking third place on line from the RP66 Alive (Tas) shortly before midday, the URM Group, an RP72, is also wary about the danger of the Moneypenny.

URM Group and Alive had been in a close fight for third place all morning, but looming behind them and closer to shore in fifth place was Moneypenny, a RP69.

At 1430hrs, URM Group, Alive and Moneypenny were 124, 127 and 111 nautical miles south east of Gabo Island respectively. Eleven nautical miles separated the three boats.

Meanwhile, Andoo Comanche and LawConnect were continuing their close tussle in first and second place, positioned 115 and 130 nautical miles east of Eddystone Point.

URM Group navigator, Alice Parker, was in high spirits, despite her own struggle with some sea sickness in the tough conditions that have seen rain, thunder and lightning.

“I had a good few moments with a bucket between my legs, but otherwise, everyone is in good spirits,” she said. “We’re all a bit wet, sliding around a bit, but the boats in really good shape.”

As she spoke, URM Group, owned by Anthony Johnston and skippered by Marcus Ashley-Jones, was 105nm behind Andoo Comanche, sailing at 15 knots with the wind from the east.

While happy with their race against Alive, owned by Phillip Turner and skippered by Duncan Hine, Parker said Moneypenny, owned by Sean Langman was also a danger.

“Over the last couple of hours, we’ve been sailing quite well … we’re now matching them [Alive], or slightly in front, with Moneypenny at our stern.

“We’re a bit nervous about some of the 52s on the ‘beach,’ [referring to sailing close to the coast] or closer to the south-east corner of Victoria. They’ve been ripping along in what looks like a pretty good ‘sou-easterly.

“But things are looking good for us now. The big boats are doing really well. LawConnect and Comanche have just had the perfect conditions really with strong reaching conditions.

“I think we’ll just miss out on getting that all the way to the finish. I suspect we’ll end up in a bit of a front that is meant to come through the early hours of tomorrow.”

Parker said that based on the current indicators, URM Group could possibly reach the finish in Hobart “sometime around lunchtime, or just after that,” tomorrow.

In other news, two more boats have retired. Tumbleweed, the two-handed entry of Graham Biehl and Nigel Nattrass, who cite seasickness and fatigue, while David Watson’s Luna Blue has damaged equipment. Both boats are likely to head back to Sydney.

Written by Rupert Guinness | RSHYR Media

Internationally, the race will be available through YouTube on CYCATV or on Facebook Rolex Sydney Hobart page
For the full list of entries and more information about the race, visit rolexsydneyhobart.com.

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