|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(27-12-2005) Light overnight winds have frustrated the competitors in the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race, with the fleet strung out along the NSW coast in listless, variable conditions as the sun rose on day two.
The yachts have slowed right down and whereas day one was a drag race with all the boats clinging to the rhumb line, this morning the fleet is much more spread out.
Wild Oats XI has stayed close to the coast while Alfa Romeo and Skandia have gone further out to sea looking for wind. The same tactical decisions are being reflected further back in the fleet, which is spreading out east to west as well as north to south.
The frontrunners have entered Bass Strait with helicopter reports showing Alfa Romeo in the lead.
While there have been no official retirements, the German entry Conergy is reported to be heading back to Sydney with a leaking stern gland.
Frustrating overnight winds have put a record run in doubt. The leading yachts have slipped behind Nokia’s 1999 record schedule and with each hour of fickle wind the prospects of them catching her again are fading.
A 10 to 15 knot north-easter is forecast for this afternoon, freshening to 20 to 30 knots overnight, and if the breeze does pick up early it could be that the record hangs in the balance right up to the 9:30 deadline in Hobart tomorrow morning, but at the moment that is all wishful thinking.
Right now, as Bret Filby on Tow Truck put it further back in the fleet: “we’ve got more current than wind.”
For more information about the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2005, visit www.rolexsydneyhobart.com where you can follow progress of yachts (once the race has begun) at ‘Yacht Tracker’ – yacht positions are updated approx every 10min.