A stormy night brought mixed fortunes as Derry~Londonderry~Doire extended its Race 6 lead and Henri Lloyd retired with a rudder problem.
After yesterday’s incredibly close day’s racing and gale force conditions overnight through the notorious Bass Strait, Derry~Londonderry~Doire has extended its Race 6 lead as it heads down the Tasmanian coast in its final 100 miles to Hobart.
In an unfortunate contrast of fortunes and a serious blow to its current Clipper Race lead position, Henri Lloyd, who led the fleet at one stage yesterday, was forced to retire from the RSHYR last night after it lost a rudder bearing east of Cape Barren Island. The team is now motorsailing to Hobart.
The strong overnight wind conditions clearly favoured the larger boats as many of the Clipper 70s have seen great improvements in their overall Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race standings. Derry~Londonderry~Doire has gained more than ten positions, now sitting 27th position overall out of 94 starting teams.
Skipper Sean McCarter is enjoying his lead position but is not banking on the twelve points just yet, saying: “We had a great day yesterday with numerous kites up and down, all flirting with their upper wind limits and in the last case, flirting with a 50 knot squall front. Luckily we managed to keep all the sails intact but in these conditions, you are only ever one wave or one big gust away from disaster.
“We have managed to eek (or should I say pound) out a little bit of a lead overnight but are taking nothing for granted as the final 40 miles through Storm Bay and up the Derwent River are notoriously cruel.”
GREAT Britain (30th overall line honours) is still chasing hard in second place, also having caught up approximately ten overall positions in the RSHYR fleet. However Simon Talbot, the GREAT Britain skipper says his team’s podium position is far from secure. “It now looks like we have a pretty solid 18 hours or so to get us to the finish. With the wind and waves not helping us, we have a lot of the rest of the fleet running a little west of us which will help them in the closing stages as we all have to tack west to round Tasman Island and head into Storm Bay, so it looks like being a nail biter of a finish.”
OneDLL remains third in the Clipper Race fleet (34th overall) and is racing incredibly tightly together, with Old Pulteney fourth (39th), PSP Logistics fifth (43), Jamaica Get All Right Sixth (44th) , Switzerlandin seventh (47th), and Qingdao in eighth (49th).
Team Garmin skipper Mark Burkes, currently ninth, and 54th place overall, commented on the recent windy conditions: “Many were reporting 40 to 60 knots wind on their schedule and we were certainly not going to argue with those statements. I was certainly glad to be on a larger boat with big winds on the nose, and it's not over yet, as we have Storm Bay to contend with and a less sheltered coast.”
The gales have caused serious issues for many RSHYR teams, as up to five other entries have been forced to retire overnight due to damage suffered in the storms, one being dismasted and another team was forced to medevac a crew member to land with a broken leg.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Clipper 68, CV10, under skipper Jim Dobie is still racing well, currently positioned between PSP Logistics and Switzerland, in 45th position. CV5, the other Clipper 68 taking part in the race, is in 58th position, behind Invest Africa which is just ahead of Mission Performance.
The Clipper Race fleet is now racing down the coast of Tasmania and is expected to arrive in Hobart in the early hours of Monday between midnight and 11:00 local Australia time, (midday - 23:00 UTC). Henri Lloyd is expected a few hours behind the rest of the fleet.
All positions reported are as at the time of writing and are changing frequently. Check the Clipper Race tracker for the latest positions. It is updating every 10 minutes during this race.