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Sydney- Hobart Race Record at Risk
After over 24 hours of racing this years Sydney to Hobart race is proving to be a proper yacht race and not the tragic spectacle of 1998. Winds from the north east which have continually strengthened have put as many as 20 boats on pace to break the race record. This record stands at 2 days 14 hours. As of 0930 eastern the leaders have 10 hours of time left to break the record.
The race started in an 8 knot easterly breeze in Sydney Harbor. Once hitting the high seas the early leader was Magna Data. This is the Open 60 that Kanga Birtles intended to sail in the past Around Alone race. Magna Data held the lead at the midnite position report. At this point the 60 footer had an average speed of 12.84 knots. Following closely were the Australian maxis Wild Thing and Brindabella.
By the 0400 report the Whitbread 60 Nokia had taken the lead. Her average speed was 15.58 knots. This pace put here 10 hours ahead of the record speed. Brindabella was 2nd with an average of 15.44.
By 1000 the morning of the 27th Aussie time, Nokia led and Wild Thing was 2nd. Winds has piped up to 30 knots out of the North East. Such winds produce heavy air running conditions that Whitbread 60's thrive in.
The heavy conditions have caused 5 of the 80 boats to retire. As expected in these conditions, mast and boom damage have been the cause of the withdrawals.
Latest reports show Nokia leading the fleet. 16 miles back is Wild Thing, followed closely by Brindabella. Another 34 miles out is Magna Data. Magna Data suffered damage to one of her twin rudders, and so maybe having difficulty tracking in the heavy downwind conditions. Nokia should finish within an hour.
Torresen Sailing Site Sailor of the Year
With voting ended Friday, the drawing for sailing prizes has now been held. Winners have been notified via e-mail.
Profiles of both the female and male sailor of the year will be presented in the Around the world of Sailing 99-00 Sailing Report.