Ray ROBERTS is no newcomer to ocean racing but he's certainly enjoyed a long break from contesting Australian east coast races and this race to the Sunshine Coast with a brand new boat was to mark his return. The new DK 46 Hollywood Boulevard, which was only launched in January and was a handicap chance, is now motoring to Newcastle to repair damage sustained during a wild broach.
"We were running ahead of a 25-30 knot sou'easter and a big following sea off Newcastle when we broached and a wave got under the stern of the boat, digging the spinnaker pole into the water. The pole snapped and the track on the mast was damaged enough that we couldn't continue," said a disappointed Roberts this evening.
The Sydney 38 Yeah Baby, a Lake Macquarie yacht owned by Mike HINCHEY, is the third retirement this evening, reporting a broken gooseneck. This brings the total number of retirements to four after Local Hero's rudder broke away just minutes after the 13:00 (local time) start today.
At 19:00 (local time), the Volvo 60 Seriously TEN (John WOODRUFF/Eric ROBINSON) was sailing south of Port Stephens and was holding a 13 nautical mile lead over Steven DAVID's Reichel/Pugh 60 Wild Joe which has joined the third-placed AAPT (Sean LANGMAN) well out to sea. Like their exit from Sydney Harbour today, the two are neck and neck.
All three front runners are currently maintaining speeds above 10.65 knots, the average speed required to break the longstanding race record.
On IRC handicap, the race leader at 19:00 was the tiny Mumm 30 Tow Truck ahead of Matt ALLEN's Farr 52 Ichi Ban and Warren COTTIS' F36 Razor White Hot.
Early PHS standings have Geoff LAVIS' UBS Wild Thing leading Seriously TEN and James NEILL's The Cone of Silence while in the Sydney 38 division, Horwath BRI is the best placed of the one-design yachts.