In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Race 7 commenced at 1700 local time this afternoon (0600 UTC) off Constitution Dock, Hobart for the 1075 nautical mile stage to Brisbane, Queensland, to complete the Australian leg.
Yachts prepare to set sail up the Derwent River at the start of race 7 in the Clipper Round the World, from Hobart to Brisbane, leaving from Constitution Dock in Hobart, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
Old Pulteney was first over the start line two lengths ahead of OneDLL with PSP Logistics overlapping in third closely followed by Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Great Britain.
This is the third time the fleet has tackled the Tasman Sea and Bass Strait in as many weeks, having just completed the 69th Rolex Sydney to Hobart.
'Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea are not to be taken lightly and neither should the skippers and crew be complacent but they should take it in their stride when they return. The start of the race will see strong south westerly breeze before it eases and goes more westerly which is ideal for a fast race,' explained Race Director Justin Taylor.
'The race will retrace its steps somewhat from Race 5 from Albany when the final stages into Sydney covered a similar route, but this time they will be pushing on up to Brisbane and I would expect them to move further offshore.
'There are some quite active weather systems at the moment both with three Southern Ocean depressions queuing up to pass south of Tasmania in as many days with their fronts passing over Bass Strait. The fronts will have strong squalls and in these the yachts may well see 50 knots or more.'
He added: 'In effect these crews will have covered the Sydney-Hobart course three times, plus a further 2000 miles.'
Old Pulteney at the start of race 7 in the Clipper Round the World, from Hobart to Brisbane, leaving from Constitution Dock in Hobart, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
Following the Sydney-Hobart, which was also Race 6 in the 16-race series, OneDLL is currently top of the overall leader board with 60 points. Olly Cotterell, skipper of OneDLL, said: 'We are very happy with our new position after a tough Race 6 where we were just pipped to a podium place. We want to keep being consistent and see that pay off for us.' Henri Lloyd is just one point behind OneDLL, but has its start delayed to complete a repair to its starboard rudder. It will be awarded average points (9.9) for Race 7, so OneDLL will need to finish at least third to maintain its lead, or pick up additional gate or sprint points.
Winner of the Clipper 70 class in the Sydney Hobart was Derry~Londonderry~Doire which is looking to build on its winning form. Skipper Sean McCarter said: 'It is important that we harness the momentum. The guys are on a high after the result and we want to keep up the hard work. We didn't change much for the Sydney Hobart and we will carry on with the same watch system for this race too.'
In third place overall is Great Britain with 50 points. They are hoping to claw back further points following disqualification in Race 5 after a protest. They picked up a healthy 11 points in Race 6 after finishing the Sydney-Hobart second in the Clipper 70 class. Skipper Simon Talbot said: 'We need to go for a few Scoring Gates and Ocean Sprints to get some extra points. There are teams just behind us in the standings which keeps us focused. We will keep plugging away and fighting.'
The fleet is expected to reach Brisbane around 9 January for a short stopover before the start of Race 8 to Singapore which will start a day later than originally scheduled on 12 January 2014.
Clipper Round the World