Force 8 Gale force winds are making the Solomon Airlines Brisbane to Gizo race a heavy test of sailors and their equipment.
Dayle Smith aboard Overdraft reported at the 8:30am radio sked, that last night weather conditions were Force 8 with easterly winds gusting to 40 knots. This is a hint of south easterly, producing a cross swell and continuing bumpy seaway.
Sorbent Helsal II is blast reaching, still averaging over 10 knots and at 10 am was 335 miles south south west of Gizo. With strong trade winds all the way to Gizo, it seems that only an equipment breakage can prevent Sorbent Helsal II from breaking the race record.
If everything holds together she may reach the calm of Gizo Harbour before dark on Thursday evening. If she manages that she will break Bit O' Fluffs 149 hour record by more than 20 hours.
In the heavy seaway On Top's satellite tracking unit battery has come adrift and conditions are too dangerous for repairs to be affected. She is leading the Cruising division and was 482 miles south of Gizo at 8:35am this morning.
Second in the Cruising division was Overdraft was 75 miles behind her. Cherana still leads the racing division, Take Time only 5 miles behind her is now second. Drina who is third on line honours is 544 miles south of Gizo.
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.
Rob Kothe Gizo Explorer Hotel +677 60199