The 2150 mile Race 5 to Sydney has started from Albany, Western Australia.
Following a Parade of Sail and flyover, GREAT Britain was first over the start line, followed by Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Qingdao in third position.
However, following the start, a racing incident was reported between PSP Logistics and GREAT Britain. Both yachts have returned to port for a full damage assessment. There are no injuries and updates will be given when known.
Ahead of the Race Start, Gareth Glover, skipper of Qingdao, said: “The legs so far have been long and we do better over a longer period of time. This race, we will push as hard as we can from the start, and hope for a top five finish. It will be a very tactical 12 day race to Sydney, but we are not changing a lot from what we have done so far as we have been growing as a team.
“We have had new crew members though so we have changed around some watch leaders. I will be keeping more of an eye on the navigation this race. With a high pressure system filling in, I think there will be a big split in the fleet and a few boats will go east faster. When we sail near Tasmania, it will be good to see the conditions there to get an idea of how the weather will be on the way to Brisbane, so that will be useful.
“This race will be good prep for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. It is such an iconic race and I started it once before 10 years ago, but had to retire early on, so I am keen to have a real go at it this time.”
Eric Holden, skipper of Henri Lloyd, at the top of the leaderboard, added: “It is a shorter leg than what we are used to so we feel we can push the boat harder and faster, and keep up the pace all the time.
“It will be good warm up training ahead of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race which will be useful for everyone. We have new crew so it will be a good chance for them to gel ahead of the race. The forecast is not the same as the nasty storms we had in Leg 3 and the conditions are more suitable so we are hoping we won’t have to worry so much about things we did in the last race.
“It looks like there will be high pressure fronts for most of the race, but it will be cold as we go south of Tasmania. We won’t be changing anything about what we have done already, but we certainly won’t be relaxing as we are only four points ahead of GREAT Britain in second place so we must not lose focus as those points can be lost very quickly.”
The fleet is due into Sydney between 12 and 14 December. The fleet will berth at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Rushcutter’s Bay. Following a stopover, the fleet will then compete in the world famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.