Weather Is Not In The Brochure.
Low cloud, hard rain and winds of 25 knots from the east-northeast together with a lumpy confused sea is providing a wet, bumpy ride.
But it's the breeze that counts and Bill Rawson's 20 year old sloop Sorbent Helsal II is stepping out and her 24 hour run from 8am this morning is likely to be 240 miles or more.
Sail-world's auto updating computerised great circle calculations, from the satellite tracking positions is estimating ETA's. To break the race record Sorbent Helsal II has to finish early than Friday 15:35. Right now, the system is predicting a Friday 14:26 arrival, but that time is based on her slow first two days, including the down time wallowing with a broken steering system.
Current speeds suggest that with 730 miles to the finish line, the 20-metre pocket maxi will be in Gizo Harbour on Thursday night.
There is an 80-mile gap back to second boat and the balance of the fleet, is bunched in a 60-mile pack. On Top, second boat outright, over the last hour, her speed almost matched the much larger boat.
Overdraft is well-positioned 17 miles back, but she is losing a mile an hour at the moment. Last years handicap winner, Drina is starting to catch Overdraft as her 50-foot waterline comes into play in the boisterous seas.
The Duncanson 40, Bushranger II a heavy cruising boat is another 11 miles behind but she is much slower now and the Sydney Hobart winner, the 38 foot Cherana is closing the gap as is Graham Smith's Take Time.
The official race website www.sail-world.com is tracking the race fleet, with the latest Star-Track satellite tracking technology. There are two sets of displays, the radio skeds updated twice daily, and the satellite tracking reports updated hourly.
The positions in the fleet, under handicap, distance to go, average speed and heading for the last hour are displayed as well as the chart displays which position the boats graphically.