In the Melbourne to Osaka Double-Handed Yacht Race on Tuesday afternoon, the fleet was spread out over approximately 1200 nautical miles, north to south, from Escapade at about 12 degrees South (about 220 miles south west of the Solomon Islands) to Gusto about 12 miles off the NSW coast, approaching Port Macquarie.
Optimus Prime underway again - 2013 Melbourne to Osaka
Escapade still retains a lead of over 600 miles from Turbulence and is over 700 miles ahead of the next group, Cadibarra 8, Wasabi, Funnelweb and Spirit of Downunder, all at latitudes around 24 South, but spread out over a long line from Wasabi, 50 miles north of Bundaberg, Spirit of Downunder, 50 miles north of Fraser Is, Cadibarra 8, about 250 miles offshore to Funnelweb over 300 miles from the Queensland coast.
You will have seen that the Tracker on Turbulence has not been working since Sunday, however Eric and Paul continue to report twice a day both by email and by HF radio. At 7.00 am this morning, they were at 23.09 South, 155.04 East, or approximately 180 miles north east of Bundaberg. Attempts are being made to work out the problem with the Tracker.
Kiss Goodbye to MS is now 40 miles east of Fraser Is, having been forced to call in briefly to Coffs Harbour to obtain conditions calm enough to undertake some mainsail repairs, following problems with the spinnaker pole and track early in the race.
Optimus Prime is also back at sea after their forestay breakage and their diversion to Sydney, via Eden, for repairs. They left Sydney on Saturday afternoon and at 3.00 pm today they were 160 miles east of Brisbane with 18 to 20 knots from SSE and well on their way to making up for the lost time.
Samurai Jack is east of the Gold Coast, but less than 10 miles off the shore. After their stay in Coffs Harbour to effect repairs to their keel support structure they got going again on Monday afternoon and as Ryan said in an email: 'What an effort. In the last two days Samurai has seen grinders, saws, welders and a whole lot of mess… all is repaired … we're simply stoked to be racing again. To the other competitors: We'll see you in the doldrums!'
Japanese entrant Southern Cross has now finally sorted out their various mechanical issues and left Brisbane about midday today. They originally diverted from a long way east to effect repairs to the steering, but were then caught up with starter motor problems. Being Easter it was not possible to find the necessary parts until this morning, but all is now in order and they’re on their way.
After damaging their tuffluff headfoil in the wild weather of Bass Strait, Gusto was another visitor to Sydney. They managed to get their repairs done despite the Easter holiday and were under way again on Monday morning. They’re making fairly slow progress this afternoon, but should be in line for stronger south to south westerlies later today.
Wasabi reported a 'McGyvering' moment when Bruce on his afternoon rounds nticed a fractional sheave pin about to fall out, so it was up the mast for John to effect a replacement. They have revised their SOPs for mast climbing -'Guy on deck clips on and guy up the mast takes some get down gear with him' after John called out from the top of the mast 'don't fall over as I will be stuck up here'.
All the boats which have stopped racing for repairs are required to submit a detailed report of the circumstances and conditions to the Osaka Cup International Jury, who will assess what penalties they will receive for obtaining outside assistance. The penalty may be up to 30% of their elapsed time.
From now on it will be interesting to see who comes out on top between those crews who ventured offshore early and those who stayed close to the coast.
Escapade was the first to head out into the Tasman and for the last few days has been reaping the benefits; however the crew had to endure some tough weather on the way.
Funnelweb, Cadibarra 8 and Optimus Prime are all now well out into the Tasman and it looks as though Turbulence, Spirit of Downunder and Kiss Goodbye to MS are also on their way out to sea. Wasabi remains close in but will need to head out fairly soon.