With just over 600 miles until Race 5 finish in Sydney, tactical decisions are starting to play out as the light winds at the front of the fleet threaten to jeopardise the leaders’ positions.
Race 5 is still anyone’s for the taking and with less than 10 miles separating the top three entry’s, Derry~Londonderry~Doire is determined to maintain its current lead and is the first entry to play its Stealth Mode card. The Northern Irish entry’s position will be hidden from the rest of the fleet for 24 hours, and published again at 0600 UTC tomorrow (10 December).
With current second place entry Henri Lloyd determined to make gains, skipper Eric Holden is under no illusion of the tough and frustrating conditions that face his team as they reach the most southerly point of Tasmania, in anticipation of turning northward to Sydney where the real race gets underway.
“We have spotted Tasmania. By the time you read this we should be thoroughly becalmed in the wind shadow of the island. We have been in no great rush to get here as it looks like the leaders will bear the worst of the light winds with conditions improving for those following behind. It has been generally understood that the real race starts from here up to Sydney."
With Mission Performance climbing up two places on the leaderboard overnight to sixth place, overtaking Switzerland and Jamaica Get All Right, the mid-fleet competitors remain well and truly in the race as skipper Matt Mitchell explains as he contemplates his next move:
“Tactically this will be make or break for the race, those of us mid-fleet is still in touch with the leaders of the pack as they are still under 100 miles away, which in ocean racing isn't that far, and with the East Australia Current (EAC), a fast moving south flowing current to contend with, there is still a lot of decisions to be made about where to put the boat to gain the best advantage.”
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