Bob Oatley's 100ft super-maxi Wild Oats XI was the first of the yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart to pass Tasman Island, the southern-most point in the 628nm race. The big silver beast passed the landmark at 11.45 this morning and had just 40nm left to sail.
However, the American challenger Comanche has been eating into the Oats' lead all morning and was just 9.8nm behind.
Conditions on the Derwent are described as “light and fluky” with what wind there is coming from the north. Despite an incoming tide until after 2pm, this will make the final beat slow and excruciating.
Oats is considered the better light-airs yacht and should hold on to win a record eighth line honours title. The race tracker is currently giving an ETA of around 2.30pm this afternoon, but this is likely to blow out as the day progresses.
The rest of the fleet is enjoying stronger winds off the east coast of Tasmania and is closing the gap on the leaders. The battle for handicap honours continues to change almost by the minute, but small boats still dominate the leaderboard.
At 11.30am the smallest boat in the fleet, Sean Langman's Maluka of Kermandie, was the provisional leader just 17 seconds ahead of hane Kearns Quickpoint Azurro.
– Roger McMillan, Editor