'Skipper Gary Smith (left, front row) and his winning crew of The Fork in the Road at Hobart waterfront this morning'
In the Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, following a night of battling through galeforce headwinds and big seas in Storm Bay, the Hobart yacht The Fork in the Road has taken line honours.
Skippered by former Olympic and world champion sailor Gary Smith, crossed the finish line off Castray Esplanade at 5:44:59 this morning – in almost a flat calm on the River Derwent.
The win is the third for New Zealand designed, Tasmanian built 45-footer but still several hours short of the race record.
As The Fork in the Road crossed the finish line only one of the 26 starters in the 285 nautical mile race was still racing, Andrew Scott’s Jarkan 38 Bellandean. With the westerly gale still pounding Storm Bay The Protagonist had run for shelter in Port Arthur.
Four yachts, Black Magic, Twitch, Believe and Masquerade retired last night due to damage, crew injuries or because of the forecast of dire weather at Tasman Island overnight.
Four or five yachts have sheltered at Triabunna and four more of the leading group ran for shelter in Fortesque Bay on the Tasman Peninsula as strong to galeforce winds pounded the South East Coast through the night. Some may resume racing to Hobart once the weather eases later today.
'We got 40 knots on the nose coming across Storm Bay last night…it was very dark, wet and it was raining…you could not see the next wave in front of you,' owner/skipper Smith said in Hobart this morning.
'We did not suffer any damage but several of the big Sydney Hobart yachts were damaged, one split its mainsail, another was dismasted,' Smith added.
by Peter Campbell
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11:32 PM Sat 28 Dec 2013GMT
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