Like the Rolex Sydney Hobart race fleet, the Indec Melbourne to Hobart fleet is suffering with light airs. Indec Merit is currently leading Prowler by eight miles

After a frustrating day on the west coast of Tasmania the Indec Melbourne to Hobart fleet has been sailing in a south-west breeze that reached top speeds of nine knots. Race leader Indec Merit had covered 155 miles from the Port Phillip heads at the 0635 sked this morning averaging 9.2 knots boat speed during the night. Prowler skippered by Christian Jackson, was eight miles behind the line honours leader with 2000 race winner Tevake in third place.

The predicted shift in the breeze didn’t happen and what little breeze the fleet had continued to drop out during the day down to five knots at times. This allowed the fleet to come down to Indec Merit who had tried the code zero headsail in the sticky conditions with little success.

At the afternoon sked the surprise of the race was unfolding with the 47ft Prowler sailing down the coast to be neck and neck with the Volvo 60 Indec Merit, having covered 175 miles in the 480 miles race. In third place was Phil Coombs’s No Fearr travelling along at six knots in the eight knot south-west breeze. “The boat is handling very well and we are enjoying the conditions. We expect to be into Hobart some time Tuesday,” said skipper Coombs.

Manoeuvring into fourth, after sailing through Tevake – who is currently leading the premier handicap AMS division-was Richard McGarvie’s Ingilis 37 Addiction. “We are having champagne sailing down the rugged west coast with plenty of wildlife around,’ said crewmember Warwick Baggs.

Leading the PHD handicap division is the Northshore 38 VDO Ruthless with the fleet in the Indec Melbourne to Hobart Yacht race expected to arrive into the dock in Hobart late tomorrow afternoon.