Eight hours in to this year’s Melbourne to King Island Race and Scarlet Runner has stamped itself firmly in the lead. Robert Date’s Rp-52 is streaking ahead at speeds of 11 knots, 37NM ahead of the rest of the fleet.
Scarlet Runner is on pace to reach Grassy Harbour with a new record - ORCV Melbourne to King Island
With around 45 nautical miles left to go, they might just be on pace to get in to Grassy Harbour ahead of Cadibarra 8’s 2002 race record of ten hours and eight minutes.
The rest of the fleet is bunched up within 10NM of each other, tacking back and forth to find the most favourable winds. Wicked and Primitive Cool are in each other’s pockets at the head of the group, the two forty-footers keeping pace to fill out the podium for line honours as well as IRC handicap division behind the lead boat.
At the front of another group taking the easterly route is Chikara Outlaw, in tight competition with eXtasea and Jazz Player.
These wind chasers are gaining a slight advantage in speed, all travelling seven knots or faster.
Addiction is racing up behind the leaders of the main group, only 2NM keeping Richard McGarvie from pushing his boat into second on the AMS scoreboard behind Wicked.
Winds have picked up further to the east of the course, reaching closer to 20 knots, but they might be just out of reach of the group sailing the east route. Further west, winds remain at about 15 knots.
But who knows what the savvy navigators on board will be able to find out on the water.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the front of the fleet to see if Scarlet Runner can make it in time to grab the record.
Chikara Outlaw has taken the eastern route - ORCV Melbourne to King Island