At the fine old age of 51, the wooden yawl Sanyo Maris is on track for a second successive IRC win in the Hempel Paints 36th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race.
Skippered by Clean Up Australia founder and round-the-world racing yachtsman Ian Kiernan, the Alan Payne-designed yawl appears to be revelling in the close reaching conditions.
Kiernan and his crew of New Zealanders may have found his new reaching headsail just the answer in the steady northerly winds and at this morning's 0705 position report Sanyo Maris had 183 nautical miles to finish the 414 mile course across the northern Tasman Sea.
Built in Hobart by the famous Jock Muir, Sanyo Maris celebrated her 50th birthday by winning the Lord Howe Island Race last year and she has steadily improved her handicap standing since the start of this race from Broken Bay, north of Sydney, last Saturday.
Currently, she heads the IRC positions from the fleet leader, Queenslander Stewart Lewis' Marten 49 Ocean Affinity, although they almost one hundred sea miles apart.
Third in standing is Dennis Cooper's MBD 36 Amante from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, while race favourite AFR Midnight Rambler, Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas' modified Farr 40, also from the CYCA, has dropped to fourth in standings.
In the PHS division, another Queensland boat, Peter Lewis's Charlie's Dream, heads the handicap positions from Nick Athineos' Kioni and Chris Dawe's Polaris of Belmont, sailing for the Gosford Sailing Club.
The other GSC entrant, Bill Koppe's Pacha, is currently sixth in the IRC division.
With no maxi yachts in the 14 boat fleet this year and conditions not favourable for fast times, there will be no record elapsed time this year.
The leading boat, Ocean Affinity, still had 86.4 nautical miles to sail at ‘sked' time this morning. She is making just under 8 knots, but is not likely to reach Lord Howe Island until early this evening.
AFR Midnight Rambler, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is now 35 nm astern of Ocean Affinity, followed by Southern Cross, skippered by 82 year-old Bill Gilbert from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.