The fleet in the Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is having a respite from the strong wind conditions as the leading yachts pass Montagu Island, some 170 nautical miles to the south of Sydney.
All 82 boats which set sail yesterday are still racing south in a moderate south-westerly breeze, with no problems experienced overnight, although the latest weather forecast still warns of galeforce west to south-westerly winds in Bass Strait and rough seas. Reports from the fleet at the 0305 hour position report schedule said the strong north-easterly winds had died away overnight and at that stage the bulk of the fleet, now well south of Jervis Bay, was beating to windward into a 12 to 15 knot south-westerly wind.
Shockwave, Neville Crichton's turbo maxi, still leads the fleet, 19 nautical miles south-east of Montagu Island. She was still well out to sea after setting a very fast pace from the start yesterday as the fleet enjoyed a spinnaker run south in a freshening north-easterly seabreeze. Based on latitudes and longitudes reported to Telstra Radio aboard the radio relay vessel Young Endeavour, Shockwave was five miles ahead of the Swedish 80-footer Nicorette, skippered by Ludde Ingvall, which has markedly improved her position during the night. Just over a mile astern is Wild Thing, Grant Wharington's 83-footer from Melbourne followed close by Sean Langman's Open 60, Xena, which dropped back as the north-easterly breeze died away late last night.
The first of the Volvo 60s is the Bermudan entry Tyco, which has moved slightly ahead of the Australian boat, News Corporation and Illbruk. All these boats, with the exception of Shockwave, are water-ballasted, with the next of the conventionally ballasted big boats being Brindabella, seventh in the fleet.
Progressive provisional corrected time place the Victorian yacht Breakaway (Martin Power) holding first place overall in the IMS category from the Sydney boats Shipping Central and Loco, with last year's Overall winner Yendys in fourth place. In the IRC division, the overall leader is the Greek-owned Aera (Nick Lydiaradopulo) from Polaris of Belmont and Shockwave while in the PHS division the Sydney yacht Delta Wing (William Koppe) heads the provisional results from Icefire and the Victorian pocket maxi, Sorbent Helsal.