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j daze

After just 1 day and 17 hours of racing the gap between first and last in the Sydney-Hobart race has already blown out to more than 300 nautical miles. 

That’s the sheer speed difference between the 100-foot supermaxis sailed by full-time professionals and the amateur battlers in sturdy 32-footers at the back of the fleet.

Black Jack and Law Connect have crossed Bass Strait and are now fighting for the lead off the North Eastern tip of the Tasmanian mainland. Meanwhile Gun Runner – sailed by first-timers from the Australian Army – is still only halfway down the New South Wales Coast.     

After the second unpleasant night at sea there have now been a total of 35 retirements from the 88 yachts that crossed the starting line on Boxing Day. Seven of the yachts still racing appear to have problems with their tracking devices so their positions are given as estimates only.

The TP52s are clustered in their customary ‘race within a race’. Smuggler, Celestial, Ichi Ban and Quest are battling within sight of each other about 100 miles behind the leaders.

As the elapsed time now begins to build towards the expected average of just over three days the projected handicap positions (re-calculated every few minutes by computer) have changed quite dramatically. 

In the crucial IRC division, which determines the overall race winner, the leader is Love & War, the legendary wooden 47-foot S&S that won the Hobart in 1974, 1978 and 2006. Remarkably, the elegant old sloop is also leading on ORCi. 

Among the other surprise performers is Stefan Racing, originally known as Beau Geste. Now painted pink  with rainbow colors and sponsored by the owner of a hairdressing chain, the Botin 80 has maintained impressive speed, snapping at the heels of the three supermaxis.

Six of the 17 starters in the two-handed fleet have now retired and The J/99 Disko Trooper (pictured above) holds a comfortable lead on both IRC and ORCi.

– anarchist David