Heading east of north, BUCKNALL and SAYER are almost abeam of Wollongong, with Gusto, co-skippered by Patrick GIUDICE and Brian PATTINSON (AUS), around 25 nm astern, sailing a more easterly course after taking a tack out from the coast yesterday.
Worth watching is Jock and Hamish MACADIE (AUS) aboard Alex, currently behind Gusto. After arriving late to the start, the father and son from Melbourne have sailed their Jones/Hart 14 m to the front end, but are on a more easterly course than RYU-JIN.
The BUCKNALL boat will take some catching. Currently averaging 5.5 knots, Gusto and Alex-Team MACADIE are doing 4.6 and 3.9 knots respectively.
However the race is not all about who gets there first. The fleet ranges in size from the little 10.76 m Wild Boar to Gusto at 18 m and is split into divisions according to type, age and size. The real race comes down to who sails best to their handicap allowance.
Tail ender, Asadori, co-skippered by Shinsuke NISHI and Kyojun FUJITA (JPN), is now approximately 180 nm behind the leader, but doing good average speeds of 5.8 knots,
On Runaway, Andrew MCCOLE (AUS) reported this afternoon, 'If someone is playing some sick game with 'Huey' [the wind God], can you please cut it out!
'Well, today is day five of being smashed into waves and dropped 15-20 feet into troughs with wind on our nose at every turn. You might think that this would get frustrating after a while.... but I can tell you that it is particularly so when it starts raining as well!'
MCCOLE went on to explain, 'It has been slow going, sailing many miles for little advance due to adverse wind directions. After finally rounding Gabo Island yesterday afternoon, we thought our troubles were over, but alas, they had just begun. The East Australian Current is running particularly strongly at the moment and it, like the wind, is against us.
Cadi, the Jones 13 m, is presently in Eden, as her Mooloolaba co-skippers John NETHERTON (AUS) and his son David attempt to repair a split fuel tank, while Pippin is due into Eden at 1800, where both are sure to get a warm welcome from this fishing port. Neither boat has signalled their intention to retire from the race at this stage.
Staged every four years, the Organising Authority for the Melbourne-Osaka Yacht Race is made up of City of Osaka Promotional Council, Osaka Hokko Yacht Club, Japan Sailing Federation - Offshore Naikai, City of Melbourne, Sandringham Yacht Club and in association with Yachting Australia.
The event was first held in 1987 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Osaka and celebrates the sister city relationship between Melbourne and Osaka.