are we having fun yet?

So far, this has been a Sydney-Hobart race where the old offshore maxim applies: “To finish first, first you’ve got to finish”. 

It’s not quite the survival conditions of 1984 or 1998, but after the first 24 hours the reported positions and boat speeds indicate that most skippers have made keeping their boats and crews safe the first priority. 

The strong Southerly and steep seas have not abated as yet, and of the 88 starters, there is now a total of 28 retirements – 25 from the fully-crewed fleet and 3 from the two-handed division. 

Those heading for home include the 2018 winner Alive with hull damage, and the mighty Kialoa II which took line honours back in 1971. The aluminum-hulled S&S yawl reported rig problems.

The high attrition rate represents terrible disappointment for the yachts that have spent a year preparing for the race after the 2020 event was canceled because of COVID. 

(But at least the riggers and sail-makers can look forward to plenty of New Year business, while the insurance companies must already be searching for get-out clauses in their policy documents.)

Upfront, the Reichel/Pugh supermaxi Black Jack has opened up a handy 20nm lead over Scallywag which is sailing further East of the rhumb line. 

The true position of early leader Law Connect remains a mystery with the tracker program only giving an estimated lat/long that puts her in a close third spot. But if the crew misses two position reports “without reasonable cause” they risk a substantial elapsed time penalty or even being scored DNF. 

With the race entering its second day the favoured boats are beginning to rise through the handicap rankings. Two-time winning TP52 Ichi Ban now leads on IRC while the fully optimised S&S34 Azzurro, built in 1981, leads ORCi.

J/99 Disko Trooper has a substantial lead on IRC in the two-handed fleet.

– anarchist David

Title inspiration thanks to Zippy the Pinhead Clown, the originator of the phrase “Are we having fun yet?”