by Ian Grant
Heaven Can Wait powered with a building spinnaker sailing breeze had weathered Breaksea Spit Light and was logging almost 8 knots towards Lady Elliot Island.
Her position report confirmed a comfortable lead over the smaller Brisbane Bill Wild skippered sloop Wedgetail while the former Sydney-Hobart winner Quest of Queensland (Kevin Miller) held third place ahead of the Mooloolaba yacht Corum (Michael Balkin) and the Sydney yacht Sirromet Life Style Wines (Michael Spies).
All the leading yachts had improved their overall average speed thanks to the freshening south easterly breeze which also encouraged the crews of the older and lower handicapped yachts to sail into possible contention to win the race outright.
However at the 11 am fleet report today the battle for the fastest corrected handicap time and the prestigious 58 year old The Courier-Mail Cup entered an exciting stage with at least eight crews holding a trophy winning chance.
Sirromet Life Style Wines made her charge when skipper Michael Spies cleverly elected to sail on a compass bearing inside the normally accepted lay line between Indian Head and Sandy Cape to avoid the south flowing current.
This tactic has the potential to develop into a race winning decision as Sirromet Life Style Wines joined Wedgetail, Heaven Can Wait, Corum, Wistari, Quest Of Queensland and the small Sandgate sloop Battleship Gray to complete what has proved to be a demanding tactical struggle to record the fastest corrected handicap time.