This morning at 7.30am, only 14 yachts had finished the 26th Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race this morning, but the slow trickle effect is taking place, as at least 16 yachts will follow one after the other until around 1.00pm, with a break before the smaller yachts in the fleet start arriving at Southport from 4.00pm onwards.
The latest arrivals in the of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 384 nautical mile ocean race were David Pescud’s TP52, Wot Eva, at 7.12am, Sam Haynes’ Pirelli Celestial at 7.39am and Andrew Wenham’s Southern Excellence at 7.54am.
Pescud called from the finish line: 'Just finished! Great race, albeit a little slow in places. We’re all looking forward to a nice breakfast and maybe a beer at Southport Yacht Club.'
The real news of the day is that Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll from Victoria is likely to be challenged for the IRC overall win of the race. Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, from the CYCA, is still sitting comfortably in second place, while the smallest yacht in the fleet, the Archambault 31, Aroona (Anthony Paterson) is sailing her way into third overall this morning.
Aroona’s navigator, Brett Filby, said from the yacht this morning: 'Just starting to warm up after a chilly, but rewarding night. We actually hit 8 knots last night for a brief period! Managed to hold in close to the coast with our much under-used spinnaker all night, running through the Solitary Island group
'The yacht tracker has us just holding our position with boats around us, so that’s all we can do at this stage. We’re running out of food though, but still have plenty of our owner’s finest spring water rolling around everywhere...'
With the breeze lightening off early last evening, it was a knock-em-down drag out affair, and Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin, originally due to finish just after 10.00pm, did not make the finish line until shortly after 11.00pm.
Ragamuffin was the first of the TP52’s to finish the race, beating home both Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan and Rob Hanna’s Victorian yacht Shogun, both of which followed just over 20 minutes later. Wot Eva is the last of the TP52’s to finish.
Fischer, who’s afterguard included well respected sailor Vanessa Dudley, will be thrilled with his finish and the fact that he is the top TP52 and sitting in the box seat to win under ORCi overall.
There were a number of retirements overnight; Carbon Credits, Onya, Secret Men’s Business 1, Ocean Affinity and Mortgage Choice Rumba, all calling it a day. This leaves 46 boats still at sea.
Among those still racing is Rob Reynolds’ DK46, Exile, from Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Navigator Julie Hodder told this morning: 'Last night another was a mixed bag of conditions. We were in a good nor’ easter (which was forecast) and were going great guns against the boats inshore; Victoire and Balance. Then the wind died out, so it was obvious that the westerly was going to come back in.
'We pulled away in low breeze to get into the westerly when we took off again. We took Ballina and Smoky Cape fairly wide (1.5 miles) as there was not much current and more wind slightly offshore. From there, the wind was up and down all night – so now we’re going towards the finish with 9 miles to go - boat speed 8.5 knots with the A1.5 up.
'As I speak to you, the wind’s dying out and we have 8.5 miles to go, said Hodder, who gave an ETA at the finish line of 9.44am this morning.
'Thankfully, we still have enough food to last another 1/2 day, although the fridge is looking quite bare. Last night we had Scotty's Lasagne followed by mint slices.
'The crew are now getting out of their smelly sailing gear. They’re also cleaning teeth and putting on deodorant – the theory is you don't know who you’ll meet at the dock when you finish!'
Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race results here