Melbourne to Hobart - Fleet making progress

ORCV Melbourne to Launceston / Hobart Yacht Race fleet at the start
In the Melbourne to Hobart race, whilst their colleagues on the West Coast have spent a wild night in the clutches of a Gale, the East Coast fleet have had 20 – 30 knots from the West. The gust level has been almost twice this and here in lies the problem. To gain maximum speed you need to have the correct sails in place but with a wind range of the sort this fleet is experiencing you seem to never have the right sail in place. This makes for less optimised sailing and frustration from the crew.

Consequently the fleet has made progress but not as much as might be expected. Ray Shaw is well ahead of the fleet on XLR8 and is expected into Hobart late this evening well behind his West Coast rivals.

At least all the fleet are around Flinders Island and they are picking up speed with the break of dawn. Shaw has a 40 nautical mile lead over David Stoopman’s Samskara with a further gap to Merlion. The break in the fleet that occurred on the first night is still apparent with only Cartouche making inroads on the leading boats.

The weather bureau has upgraded the wind warning on the East Coast today from a Strong warning to a Gale warning. Mostly westerly wind will allow for hard reaching but on the rhumbline which should speed up the fleet.

Ariel II the last boat in the Melbourne to Launceston race is due in this morning at approximately 10 am.
http://www.sail-world.com/117962