The Mount Gay 40th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race is developing into one of best in memory.
The overall lead in the race has changed several times with three key players being Sydney Hobart winner Victoire, last year’s Lord Howe winner TP 52 Frantic the Ker 40 Midnight Rambler.
All three have spent time at the top of the IRC leader board.
Victoire a canting keel Cookson 50 and the TP 52 Frantic are slugging it out low on the course, with the latter giving some time on handicap to the Hobart winner.
GSC Commodore Paul Gulliksen snapped this picture at the start line which shows the competitive nature of these crews as they set off on the 414nm race across the Southern Tasman Sea.
Midnight Rambler got the best of the start at the boat end, but only narrowly from Southern Excellence II and between them was Frantic, Ocean Affinity and Victoire. Exile was also in this mix but obscured to leeward of Frantic, meaning the top six yachts in this year’s race hit the start line with just a three quarters of boat length between them.
This competitive spirit has carried out into the Tasman and at the half way mark nearing the Sea Mounts, Victoire has again moved into first place on IRC and is closing the gap between it and SEx II.
At their current pace, the leaders should now reach the finish in mid Monday morning, well outside of the race record.