The strong nor'westers the fleet experienced overnight have eased this morning in the Ingles Sydney Gold Coast Race but so far the smaller sized boats are still managing to hold out the bigger boats on handicap.
John CAMERON'S More Witchcraft is still the leading PHS boat while Andrew Cochrane's Stewart 34 Pendragon is holding its own on IRC overall handicap.
Cochrane has assembled a top crew for this race, including 2000 Olympic gold medal winning sailor Tom King, and refurbished his sail wardrobe with the intention of winning this race on overall handicap and so far, they have competed strongly.
Mick HINCHEY and Denis HUME'S Yeah Baby is leading the Sydney 38 division this morning with crewman Brett FILBY reporting a 30 knot westerly overnight.
"We have tacked back in to the beach to stay out of the current and we have managed to hold out the other 38s,"
Filby said as they headed north to Tweed Heads. He admitted the crew was starting to feel the strain of almost four days at sea.
"The crew must be getting tired, last night we were taking down the number 3 headsail and we inadvertently put it straight back up again,"
"So far its been a small boat race for handicap but final placings will depend on whether they can keep up the pace they've set over the last 12 hours,"
said sailing manager Justine Kirkjian this morning.
"With a 20-30 knot nor'wester forecast for this afternoon, the smaller boats should rise up in the placings and by 8.00pm tonight, we will have a clear idea on the provisional overall winner."
Fourteen yachts have now finished the Ingles Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and the majority of the 51 yachts still left at sea are due to finish throughout today, Day 4 of what has been a testing race for crews.
The total number of retirements has reached 10 with Marsim Weapon (Simmons, Offord, Offord), Time Out (Blair/Gardyne), Louis and Marc Ryckman's Sea, Rod Wills' Great Xpectations and Christopher Lobb's Uncensored the latest to withdraw with due to a variety of reasons including battery, minor rig and sail damage and time constraints.
David KENT'S Gillawa is still holding line honours at the back end of the fleet with more than 200 miles still to sail of this 384 nautical mile race. Based on current speed, he will arrive at Southport on August 8 when he will have to take his own finish time.
Full positions are available on the event website at the address below.