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Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race - Gale plays havoc with fleet

'Windless start contrasts with tonight’s gale - Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2013'    Peter Campbell    Click Here to view large photo

In the Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race four yachts retired late last night and at least three others had run for shelter as galeforce westerly winds of 40 to 50 knots roared across Storm Bay towards Tasman Island.

Strong and gusty westerly winds swept Hobart last evening, while 40 to 50 knot winds with steep, confused seas expected at Tasman Island in the early hours of this morning.

Several yachts suffered damaged running south late yesterday in nor’easterly winds that reached 35 knots after dark.

Late last night, Black Magic, Graham Mansfield’s 40-footer, was heading for Triabunna with a crew with injured ribs. Also heading for Triabunna, with rudder problems was Twitch, Rod Shaw’s 31-footer. Both are from Bellerive Yacht Club.

Believe, Richard Fisher’s Beneteau First 45 from the Tamar Yacht had been in second place in the fleet when the skipper elected to retire because of the severe weather ahead of the fleet. Believe had been one of the favourites to win the race on handicap.

So did Tony Harman’s Masquerade from Bellerive Yacht Club and a past race winner.

Seeking shelter from the storm, but planning to resume racing, were BYC Commodore John Mills’ Lyons 40 Nexedge and Jeff Cordell’s Host Plus Executive, also from BYC.

Another BYC entry, Rob Nalder’s Gowans Motor Group – True Colours was seeking shelter north of Triabunna.

A further four boats advised at the 2205 sked that they were seeking shelter and would reassess the position in the morning.

Saltair, sailed by Sarah Allard and her husband as a two-handed entry, was heading for Prosser Bay, CDC Development (Tas) – Hot Prospect (Ian Marshall) was sheltering in the Schouten Passage, Wings 3 (Peter Haros) was heading for Triabunna, while Pogue Mahone (Peter Haworth) was seeking shelter in Wineglass Bay.

At 10pm, The Fork in the Road was just rounding Tasman Island, with a long gap to The Protagonist (Stuart Denny) from BYC, followed by the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club entry Obsession (David Allan).

The remaining 15 boats still racing were spread back up the coast, with the tailenders off St Helens, still sailing in a northerly wind.

by Peter Campbell


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3:19 PM Sat 28 Dec 2013GMT

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