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Will the River Derwent let Perpetual Loyal have the record or not?


  The latest news from the UK and the world

  27 Dec 2016


Will the River Derwent let Perpetual Loyal have the record or not?

Perpetual Loyal leads the fleet through the Heads  Crosbie Lorimer
With steady winds now pushing everyone down the Tasmanian East Coast, it does appear that barring a mechanical failure, Anthony Bell's Perpetual Loyal will be the first boat into Storm Bay tonight, and well on record pace too!

The current race record of one day 18 hours 23 minute 12 seconds, set by the Oatley family's Wild Oats XI in 2012, means a finishing time of 0723hrs on December 28 (AEDT). Now there is a wide spectrum of wind strength and directions between the different weather models for the Iron Pot at the mouth of the River Derwent, and 11 nautical miles further upstream the at the finish line in Hobart, between 2100hrs tonight and 0900hrs tomorrow morning.

Late on 27/12/16 and into the wee hours of the next day at the famous Iron Pot at the mouth of the River Derwent - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © PredictWind

So again with thanks to the terrific team at, we see that it could be 12 knots or 3 in either location, so take your pick. There is plenty at Tasman Island, some at the Iron Pot, and not a lot at Sandy Bay near the Battery Point finish line. Think that's bad, then spare a thought for those aiming for later in the day, because it does not improve, it actually deteriorates a little...

Late on 27/12/16 and into the wee hours of the next day at Sandy Bay area of Hobart - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © PredictWind

Now on board Perpetual Loyal is The Wind Whisperer. London 2012 Laser Gold Medallist, Tom Slingsby, is the right man to have in the back in Fantasy Land (the Afterguard), should the river go to sleep tonight. Certainly, it does appear that an appeal to the Wind God, Huey, may indeed be to determine the dimension of a record run for the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

One wonders if it would be considered outside assistance if a Perpetual Loyal supporter pours a bottle of rum, or even two, into the river from the end of Hobart's Constitution Dock before it got dark tonight?

Talking with a long time participant recently we got to reviewing 1999, when a huge Southerly arrived to halt those yet to round Tasman Island, and at the same time swept anyone already through straight along Storm Bay and smartly up the river.

Late on 27/12/16 and into the wee hours of the next day at the stunningly pretty, Tasman Light - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © PredictWind

There are also more than serious overtones of when the VO60 Nokia two-sailed to a new record in that very year and even the mighty Kialoa III in 1975 with her two kites and blooper all set just so.

In terms of overall standings under IRC, Varuna VI and Ichi Ban are closing in on the VO70, Giacomo. They had been as much as six hours out of it, but at the time of writing have made it more like one and half hours, so it is clearly all on as they power down at 15-17 knots of boat speed. That Ker56 (Varuna VI) has been sailed hard and well, so well done to the Germans.

Varuna VI in Rolex Middle Sea Race   © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

UBOX, and Maserati are a bit further behind, as too is defending champion, Balance, along with Beau Geste. Victoire, Chinese Whisper and Black Jack would seem to have a bridge too far, but so far this coverage we have always reminded you that it is not over until they are tied to the quay, so there you go.

One thing none of the fleet will have to worry about tonight is rescuing the child who floated off in their direction from Wineglass Bay, just before midday, on a lilo no less. An emergency Pan Pan on VHF16 from TAS Maritime was responded to by a craft in the area and thankfully the young girl was returned to safety in a short space of time.

Above the Volvo Ocean 70, Giacomo. - 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © Andrea Francolini

Great to have feedback like this from on board the Sydney 38, Challenge, that the late and great legend, Lou Abrahams campaigned for so long. Chris Mrakas and Bruce Reidy tell us, 'Finally after having a lull in winds for four hours we have finally got out into wind. We are 16nm east from Gabo Island on MHS2 kite. We are the most closest to the rhumb line. SOG is 8.4 on 12kts of breeze. Our competitors are closer to Tasman Island than us by about 26nm but further out. They seem to have good speed out there.'

'The weather looks interesting as there are many holes and dead patches on race track to Hobart. Been trying to work out how to best route around these. Crew is cheerful. And all in good shape. Challenge is in good shape.'

Finally, spare a thought for Wild Oats XI. They won't be having much to cheer about, but because they are all good sports, they will no doubt be delighted for Perpetual Loyal, should they set a new record.

Maserati leads the fleet out of the heads - CYCa Bird Island Race 2016  Crosbie Lorimer

Now don't forget to get your club or association to send in your news via the submit function, just up in the top right of the Sail-World home page. In the meantime, do keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story...

John Curnow

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