Hempel 38th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race - The leading yacht, The Stick, at 6.30am today was only 23 nautical miles from the finish of the 414 nautical mile ocean race across the northern Tasman Sea to the World Heritage-listed island.
The Open 66, skippered by Richard Christian from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, should cross the finish line mid-morning after the fastest race in five years.
As the towering Mount Gower and Mount Lidgard, on the southern end of the island, came in sight on the horizon, The Stick was making 9.5 knots boatspeed after a second night at sea, sailing in northerly winds of up to 20 knots.
Her course was right on the rhumbline for the finish off Lord Howe Island’s pristine coral lagoon.
At 6.30am The Stick was 52 nautical miles ahead of the next boat in the eight yacht fleet, another CYCA entrant, Peter Tucker’s Mummery 45 Icefire. Third in the fleet the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club boat Frantic (Michael Martin) but the yacht tracker places her well south of the rhumbline and below a relatively close group of yachts, Wild Rose (Roger Hickman), Copernicus (Greg Zyner) and Quetzalcoatl (Antony Sweetapple), which are making better boatspeed.
On projected corrected times, the Farr 43 Wild Rose leads the IRC division from Copernicus and Icefire, while in the PHS division, Quetzalcoatl maintains first place from The Stick and the veteran Polaris of Belmont, skippered by Chris Dawe and the only entrant from the conducting club, Gosford Sailing Club.
All boats are continuing to make good time in the moderate to fresh winds and good sea conditions, with Wild Rose just over one hundred sea miles from the finish and making eight knots.
Even the 40-year-old Polaris of Belmont, which competed in the first Lord Howe Island Race in 1974, is making seven knots boatspeed, although she is still 155 nautical miles from the finish.
If the current weather conditions continue throughout today, most of the fleet should be at Lord Howe Island by this afternoon or by late tonight.