Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet due to finish by New Year's Eve

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 31 Dec 2006 12:27:00
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All but two of the 78 yachts which set out from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day have now completed the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with onlyAlex Whitworth’s Berrimilla and David Kent’s Gillawa, still at sea.

All but two of the 78 yachts which set out from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day have now completed the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with only Alex Whitworth’s Berrimilla and David Kent’s Gillawa still at sea.

Sean Langman’s gaff-rigged Maluka, the smallest and oldest yacht in this year’s race, crossed at 3.17am today to secure a highly credible top ten placing on IRC handicap. And in the grey, overcast conditions of early morning, the cruising yacht, Capriccio of Rye, slipped over the line in light northerly winds.

Not far behind was the Cole 35, Katinka, finishing in 67th position. Owner/skipper Paul O’Connell was delighted that they bettered their wooden spoon finish in the 2003 race and collected a second in PHS Division B.

Berrimilla, skippered by Alex Whitworth, is due to cross the finish line this afternoon at around 3pm. In the gruelling 1998 Sydney Hobart, Berrimilla placed first in the Performance Handicap Division and finished 3rd in PHS in 2002.  This hardy Brolga 33 hasn’t missed a Rolex Sydney Hobart start since 1994.

Skipper David Kent and the crew of Gillawa were hoping that forecast strengthening north easterly winds would deliver her to Hobart in time for the dockside New Year celebrations. Apart from completing the race safely, this was their primary objective however just before midnight last night, Gillawa snapped a steering cable and was forced to slow its progress until the situation could be assessed in daylight hours.

She is now inching her way around Tasman Island under emergency tiller steering and reduced sail. Kent said that it was a bit of a ‘downer’, but morale was now up and spirits high. As in previous years, Gillawa offered their apologies for not being able to attend the Governor’s reception in honour of this blue water classic.

Being the last yacht across the finish line is not new to Gillawa which finished at the rear of the fleet in the 2004 and 2005 races – an unprecedented trifecta for this Canberra-based 30 foot Cavalier which offers ocean racing experience for rookie sailors from the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

Gillawa’s ETA is currently just after 8pm this evening, just in time to welcome in the New Year in Hobart.

Nine of the 78 strong fleet which started out from Sydney Harbour retired. - Greg Peart

 

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