Seven hours into the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, Wild Oats XI holds the lead from Perpetual LOYAL and Scallywag.
The race started in a 12 to13 knot north-easterly sea-breeze with Scallywag, Wild Oats XI and CQS leading the charge.
First to crack was Wild Oats, forced to tack as she approached the shoreline.
On port tack, first she peeled off behind Scallywag, then behind Perpetual LOYAL, and then, shock horror, behind the 80 foot Beau Geste.
Anthony Bell and his crew on Perpetual LOYAL had a 10 or 11 boat lengths lead on Scallywag rounding the first mark to lead out of the harbour.
The 80 foot Beau Geste of Karl Kwok got the inside running, and passed the sea mark ahead of Seng Huang Lee’s Scallywag to be second.
CQS had problems when tacking to avoid a starboard boat, their engine stalled, so there was no hydraulic power to swing her big canting keel across in time.
Suddenly Ludde Ingvall's highest of tech yachts was on its side, the crew frantically scrambling to release the keel manually.
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Once around the first mark Scallywag sailed straight for the sea mark Wild Oats XI lay off a few degrees.
As she hardened up again at the sea mark it was nip and tuck, and again Scallywag found herself squeezed out by a rival.
As Oats popped her big Code Zero for the run south, Scallywag lost precious minutes continuing out to sea, a flogging headsail refusing to make room for their downwind chute.
These three, Wild Oats, Perpetual LOYAL and Wild Oats and Scallywag are setting the pace with trailing them CQS.
CQS has also lost a piece of their radical new foil, designed to lift the boat out of the water at high speed, but Ingvall says the damage is “not a major issue.”
Freyja, Richard Lees’ 71 year old timber cruiser became the first yacht to retire, her headsail blew out just beyond the Heads, and she is back at the CYCA.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Leaders Monday 20:00 (UTC)
1st Wild Oats XI - DTG 338 nm Speed 14.6 Knots
2nd Perpetual LOYAL - DTG 344 nm
3rd Giacomo - DTG 351 nm
4th Black Jack
6th Beau Geste
10th Varuna VI
11th Chinese Whisper
12th Ichi Ban (JV52)
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Gerald New - Sailweb
26 December 2016 9:07 GMT