Tough conditions hit smaller boats in Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet

As is usual around this time of the race, hard conditions have hit the 62 boats remaining at sea in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with boats reefing down for the hard remaining miles to Hobart.
Carl Crafoord, co-owner and navigator of the Cookson 12, Sail Exchange, reported at 0635 this morning: “We’ve had a fair bit of breeze – 30-32 knots out of the west – then it went round to the north-west. We’ve been fully pressed sailing with two and three reefs in the main. We followed the forecast and I’m disappointed as there was more than forecast and we lost time on Grace O’Malley and Enterprise.
“We got to Tasman Island and got a southerly off St Helens –and then we ended up becalmed there for 35 minutes or so. Having said that, the boat’s in good shape,” Crafoord, who is doing his 33rd Sydney Hobart this year and is one of just three father and son combinations to have achieved 30 Sydney Hobarts each in the history of the race.
“We’re now reaching under spinnaker off Maria Island. The boat’s in good shape,” Crafoord, from Sydney ended.
Meanwhile, Tasmanians are pinning their hopes on nothing changing in the overall standings for the 628 nautical mile race. Philip Turner’s Reichel/Pugh 66, Alive, is leading the charge for the Tattersall Cup. The Duncan Hine skippered boat, representing the Derwent Sailing Squadron, finished the race yesterday, shortly after 2.30pm and has sat at the top of the leaderboard since early last evening.
Their near-sistership Wild Oats X, with an all-female professional crew skippered by Stacey Jackson, is in second place. In third place and still able to spoil the top two’s party, is Grace O’Malley, the Cookson 12 owned by Zoe Taylor.
Taylor has Wendy Tuck, the Australian Female Sailor of the Year and inaugural Offshore Sailor of the Year on board, as well as Emma May, a product of the CYCA’s Youth Academy on board. At 7am, they were seven nautical miles north-east of Tasman Island, having escaped from their main rivals, Enterprise, the modified Farr 40 owned by West Australian Anthony Kirke and Sail Exchange. The two are seventh and 13th respectively overall.

In other news, Triton is the latest yacht to finish the race. Owned by David Gotze and Michael Cranitch, the LC60’s crew includes Tony ‘Ace’ Ellis, who has just sailed his 51st Sydney Hobart, equalling Tony Cable’s record for the most races by an individual. Still at sea is LeeAnn Lynch’s Relish IV, with Bill Ratcliff sailing his 50th race.
And while Alive is waving the banner for Tasmania, spare a thought for fellow Tasmanian entry, 2 Unlimited. She was hit by a sunfish yesterday afternoon along the Tasmanian Coast and retired, making a total of seven retirements from the race. The Farr 40 recently purchased and modified for offshore racing by gun sailor, Greg ‘Enzo’ Prescott, was a solid bet for the overall win.
To follow the race on tracker:
By Di Pearson, RSHYR media

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