Hempel Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race - Prominent ocean racing yachtsman Roger Hickman has shown his sailing skills overnight to bringing his 18-year-old former Sydney Hobart Race winner Wild Rose into top place on IRC corrected times.
Hickman, who has been a winning skipper/sailing master in three Sydney Hobarts, is sailing as an owner/skipper for the first time in the Lord Howe Race.
After a slow start in yesterday afternoon’s light northerly breezes, Wild Rose, a Farr 43 which won the last IOR division of the Sydney Hobart in 1993, has excelled in fresher winds offshore overnight to be first on IRC handicaps.
At 0900 this morning, the fleet was making outstanding time on the long passage across the northern Tasman Sea with race leader, with the 66-footer The Stick, skippered by Richard Christian, currently sailing at more than 12 knots, covering 52 nautical miles in the last three hours.
She was 25nm ahead of the second boat in the fleet, the Mummery 45 Icefire (Peter Tucker) which at the same time was hitting 9.5 knots.
Several fleet positions have changed overnight with another past Sydney Hobart winner, the Hick 34 Midnight Rambler, skippered by James Cameron from Drummoyne Sailing Club, slipping well below the rest of the fleet with most boats on a north-easterly course but below the rhumbline to Lord Howe Island.
If The Stick, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, as is Wild Rose, can maintain its boatspeed, the downwind flyer should pass the halfway mark in the 414 nautical mile race by early this afternoon.
On IRC corrected times Wild Rose leads from Icefire, Copernicus (Greg Zyner, Manly Yacht Club) and Midnight Rambler. In the PHS division, Quetzalcoatl (Anthony Sweetapple, CYCA) has had a good sail overnight to take over first place on corrected time from The Stick, with Gosford Sailing Club entrant Polaris of Belmont (Chris Dawe) in third place.
Quetzalcoatl and Lake Macquarie Yacht Club entrant Frantic (Michael Martin) are sailing within sight of each other but Frantic, a Sayer 11.4 has dropped to fourth on PHS corrected times.