|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(27-12-2005) A gale warning for eastern Bass Strait has reignited hopes for a race record in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race.
At noon, race leader Wild Oats XI was half way across Bass Strait, but 52 nautical miles behind the relative position of the Volvo 60 Nokia when she set the race record in 1999.
At that point Nokia had 265 nm to sail to the finish in Hobart. Wild Oats X/ has 317 miles to sail.
To break Nokia’s record, the first boat must cross the finish line off Hobart’s Castray Esplanade before eight minutes past nine tomorrow morning.
Nokia’s average speed for the whole race 14.3 knots.
Wild Oats XI, after a quiet night of light winds which initially saw the record prospects diminish, is sailing now at more than 17 knots as she sails across the Strait. She must now average 15 knots to beat Nokia’s record.
Wild Oats XI is 13 miles ahead of Alfa Romeo, the other 30m Reichel-Pugh maxi at the head of the fleet, and 43 miles ahead of Grant Wharington’s Skandia.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a gale warning for Victorian eastern coastal waters.
It has forecast north-easterly winds of 10-15 knots, reaching 20 knots in the east, strengthening to 20-30 knots during this evening.
For Wednesday it is forecasting north to north-east winds of 20-30 knots, 30-40 knots in the far east. A west/southwest change of 30-40 knots extending from the west during the morning, then easing to 20-30 knots during the afternoon and evening and further easing to 15-20 knots over western waters at night.
The only retirement so far in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race is the German entry Conergy, which retired this morning with a leak in the stern which eventually took out her radio. They fixed the leak but retired and headed back to Sydney and the CYCA dock.
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.