As the wind has eased as night settles in, the advantage has been swinging to the frontrunners of the Rolex Sydney Hobart
As the 85 yachts settle in for the night off the New South Wales coast, the Rolex Sydney Harbour competitors have described the first day of the race as close to perfect. “This is champagne sailing,” said Andrew Short, a veteran of 13 previous races and skipper of the Volvo 60 ABN Amro, “I have never had such a great start to the race.”
Steve McConaghy on Quantum Racing added: “I’ve never known the seas to be so flat. It’s incredible out here.”
As the wind has eased as night settles in, the advantage has been swinging to the frontrunners. With their long waterline length and massive sail areas Alfa Romeo, Wild Oats XI and Skandia have been able to maintain most of their early speed despite the softening breeze. They have been able to extend their lead, with Alfa Romeo moving into first place on handicap as well as maintaining her position at the front of the fleet.
Alfa Romeo is two miles ahead of Wild Oats XI, with Skandia a further four miles astern.
In the race to break the record, the three lead yachts are still ahead of Nokia’s 1999 schedule, but the softening breeze is steadily working against them. The forecast is for good northerly winds tomorrow. The leaders will be sweating on the wind coming sooner rather than later to keep their record hopes alive.