Brutal first night of Sydney Hobart, with strong, gusty southerly

UPDATE 0100 // After an initial speedy exit from the Harbour, the past twelve hours have been a hard slog for the fleet into a strong & gusty southerly as the crews made their way down the NSW coast. 55 boats remain in the Fully-Crewed divisions after 16 retirements; 15 in the inaugural Two-Handed division after 2 retirements.

Photo Credit // Bow Caddy Media

The leading Fully-Crewed boats are currently SE of Batemans Bay off Moruya with Black Jack averaging 11.3kts & comfortably leading LawConnect, Stefan Racing & SHK Scallywag, ahead of Alive, Whisper, Celestial, Quest, Khaleesi & Maritimo making up the top 10. With around 500NM to go, they’re a good 100NM off the record pace set by LDV Comanche back in 2017 which at this point, had already passed Eden & was about to enter the Paddock sailing at almost 20kts.

Black Jack & Stefan Hair are inside the rhumb line, whilst LawConnect & SHK Scallywag are trying their luck outside in pursuit of current & breeze.

Strong winds and high seas have handed the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet a battering on the first night, with 18 entries being forced to withdraw. Tonight, the forecasted strong southerly that reached up to 30 knots, along with big seas, had reduced the fleet from 88 at the start of the race to 76 boats.

Amongst the first retirements was the Reichel/Pugh 69 Moneypenny, owned and skippered by Sean Langman. It was forced to turn around and return to Sydney due to a broken forestay.

On approach to Sydney Heads, Langman said: “It wasn’t ideal breaking the forestay. We were doing quite a bit of short tacking and there was a bit of current and the seas were up.

“Let’s say it was pretty fruity. We were using new technology with foils. We had faith in the new system, I suppose you learn from this.”

As of 0430 local time, retired boats were the following:

  1. Moneypenny (broken forestay)
  2. Blink (torn main)
  3. Mako (damaged main)
  4. URM (damaged main)
  5. Hip-Nautic (damaged main)
  6. TSA Management (damaged main)
  7. No Limit (crew with dislocated shoulder – sore but ok)
  8. Minerva (damaged main)
  9. Mille Sabords (damaged main)
  10. Nautical Circle (rigging issues)
  11. White Noise (window damage)
  12. Zen (minor injury – all ok)
  13. Ariel (mainsail damage)
  14. Denali (hull damage)
  15. Enchantress (broken forestay)
  16. Eora (broken backstay)
  17. Gweilo (damaged forestay)
  18. Oskana (broken forestay)
  19. Huntress (no reason provided)

Follow the race here – https://rolexsydneyhobart.com/standings/

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