With 140 nautical miles to go and an average speed of only 2 knots of boat speed, Matt ALLEN'S FKP Sydney Mooloolaba Race leader Ichi Ban is trying desperately to reach Cape Byron to escape the currents that are forcing them backwards.
Ichi Ban has also sailed into a windless patch, as has Geoff ROSS' Judel Vrolijk, Yendys, which is 2 miles astern in second place.
"We are focusing on consolidating before we reach Cape Byron as we are expecting a long night of difficult tactical racing,"
said Matt Allen this afternoon.
Yet another 50-footer, Geoff LAVIS' UBS Wild Thing, has managed to slip past the bigger boats into third place while Indec Merit (Ian TRELEAVEN) is in fourth place on line honours and sailing off the beach north of Evans Head.
Meanwhile Grant WHARINGTON'S Skandia and Sean LANGMAN'S AAPT are bearing down on the lead boats, having tacked inshore to finally pick up the localised southe easterly breeze that cruelly blew in along the coastline, leaving them stranded offshore.
Given the many surprises this race, which has been one of the slower ones in the race's history, has already dealt, predicting the line honours winner is impossible.
Whichever boat it is, they are likely to finish in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The smallest yacht to take line honours in the Sydney Mooloolaba Race was Pilgrim in 1972, the first year the race was changed from Sydney to Brisbane (Moreton Bay) to finish at Mooloolaba. Pilgrim was a 39-footer owned by Graham Evans. She also won on handicap that year.
The slowest race time of 94 hours 10 minutes 03 seconds was taken by Apollo in 1979.