|HOBART, 10:000 AM AEDT-(30-12-2004) Fading winds on the Tasmanian East Coast and in Storm Bay have strengthened the British yacht Aera’s grip on the Tattersalls Cup, the famous trophy awarded to the Overall IRC handicap winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
With 50 boats still at sea and eight finished, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will not officially announce the Overall winner of the Tattersalls Cup until tomorrow morning.
This will be at a traditional public function alongside Hobart’s Constitution Dock at 11.30am when the winners and placegetters of the various IRC and PHS handicap category divisions will be announced. However, some results will still be provisional as many smaller and slower boats will still be at sea.
Aera, owned by London-based yachtsman Nick Lykiardopulo and skippered by England yachtsman Jez Fanstone, finished in fourth place in the fleet yesterday afternoon and currently heads the provisional IRC Overall standings ahead of line honours winner Nicorette (Ludde Ingvall) and Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban which finished last evening.
It has been a frustrating morning for that part of the fleet off the Tasman East Coast and in Storm Bay. For example, the Adelaide yacht Hardy’s Secret Men’s Business rounded Tasman Island at 12.30am and gave an estimated time of arrival in Hobart as 6.00am. She did not round the Iron Pot and enter the Derwent River until nine hours later at 9.30am.
In contrast to the gales that lasted two-and-a-half days and forced half the fleet of 116 starters out of the race, yachts racing down the Tasmanian East Coast are sailing in starkly contrasting conditions this morning, with winds of just 6 to 10 knots.
Only eight boats have finished – the Farr 65 Maserati, skippered by Ian Potter, crossed the finish line just before 2.00am this morning. Four more yachts have rounded Tasman Island to enter Storm Bay – Hardy’s Secret Mens Business, Dekadence, Loki and Austmark.
The 31-footer Gillawa, now the smallest boat still racing, is at the tail of the fleet in northern Bass Strait, still with 372 nautical miles to sail to the finish.
Any yachts that last night were considered to have a chance of beating Aera on IRC handiap, have faltered with the dying breeze.
Aera, a Ker 55, heads IRC Division A, Loki, Stephen Ainsworth’s Swan 48, is leading Division B, Michael Spies’ Beneteau 44.7, First National Real Estate (NSW) leads Division C, West Australian Philip Childs’ Farr 38, Courtesan heads Division D while Peter Kurts’ classic S&S 47, Love and War (NSW) heads Division E and the 30-Year Veteran Division. In the PHS Division, the Volvo 60, Seriously Ten (John Woodruff and Eric Robinson) has finished and heads the handicap status.
Meanwhile, the supermaxi Skandia, which capsized on Tuesday after losing her keel, is under tow by a sea-going tug, which is heading for the fishing port of Lady Barron on Flinders Island in Bass Strait.