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26 April 2007, 12:44 pm
Last Hurdle Of Race Proves Hardest
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Melbourne Osaka Cup 2007
Melbourne, Australia

The very last part of the Melbourne Osaka double handed yacht race is proving to be the most difficult as COCORIN interland and Alex battle for line honours supremacy of the 5,500 nautical mile race. Since this morning at 08:00 AEST, the Japanese 16 m schooner has travelled only 26 nm and has 89 nm to go to the finish and the Hart 14 m Alex is a mere 6.5 nm away.
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As is often the case, the line honours winner will probably cross the finish line while we should all be tucked up in bed asleep - it will be a long night.

What the two are facing right now can only be described as Japan's version of the Derwent River, the last part of the famous Sydney Hobart yacht race, which more often than not proves the difference between winning and losing. The two are struggling to make it around the corner into the opening between Tokashima on the western shore and Wakayama on the east, which will take them into Osaka.

At 04.00 AEST, the two crews, Itaru MATSUNAGA and John BANKART (JPN) and father and son Jock and Hamish MACADIE (AUS), were positioned close to the eastern shore near Tanabe, trying to get around and into the opening.

Gusto Third

Brian PATTINSON (AUS) still has Gusto in third place. Looking good for the possibility of taking line honours two days ago, trouble struck, but the Victorian was unable to use communications until today, reporting that he is well and still racing, but has suffered a broken forestay. Fortunately, the yacht has an inner forestay that is sound, and he is using a spectra masthead halyard to add strength to the rig and is confident this is safe.

PATTINSON reported making very slow progress in a confused seaway with three reefs in the main and a No. 3 headsail on the inner stay. His only concern at this stage is that his fuel may run out. He is 123 nm from the leaders at 16:00.

Those behind are fairing slightly better. RYU-JIN -fgi has sailed 42 nm in the same period, now 496 nm from the leader. Dekadence is 42 nm behind the Queenslanders, and Tamagomalu a further 11 miles, having notched up 35 and 30 miles apiece.

In the next pack, Southern Light is catching Hullabaloo, now only 2 miles astern after the South Australians made 44 miles to the Yamba yacht's 22 miles. Asadori sailed 34 nm and is 33 miles behind Southern Light.

Contrasting Fortunes

From all accounts, all but the three back markers have been on the receiving end of continuous shifting winds and confused seas, the top six also having to deal with a strong easterly current.

At the back of the fleet, Ingenue and Wild Boar have made up 53 and 64 miles respectively. Campbell REYNOLDS and David BEST AUS) on Esoterica are to the east of Guam having managed 49 miles. All three have made up a little ground on the rest of the fleet.

About The Race

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.

Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Sunrise from the yacht Dekadence:© Dekadence
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