The Melbourne to Stanley race started at 0300 hours on Saturday (to ensure slack tide at The Rip, the entrance to Port Phillip), with the first yachts finished at Stanley, on the northwest coast of Tasmania, by early evening.
Yendys, the leading yacht in the race to Lord Howe Island, which started from Broken Bay on Saturday afternoon, is expected to reach the island by late this afternoon or early evening.
Line honours in the Stanley race, with a time of only 50 minutes outside the race record, went to Flirt, Chris DARE's Corbey 49 which he has imported from Great Britain specifically to contest the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. On IRC corrected time, Flirt placed third overall behind the Beneteau 44.7 Cougar of Alan WHITELEY and the DK46 Shogun skippered by Rob HANNA.
Applications to enter the Rolex Sydney Hobart have already been received from Flirt and Shogun while other expected entrants that sailed in the Stanley race included the DK46 Dekadence of Philip COOMBS which placed fifth, John PATERSON's Corel 45 RUSH which placed sixth and Fuzzy Logic of Bill LENNON and Phil ROBERTS which placed 13th.
In the Gosford to Lord Howe Island race, the leading boat, Geoff ROSS' Judel/Vrolijk 52 Yendys is expected to finish late this afternoon or early this evening as winds ease in the Tasman Sea. At the 0705 (daylight saving time) 'sked', Yendys was 88 nautical miles from the finish, some 30 miles ahead of another Rolex Sydney Hobart contender Merlin, David FORBES and Richard BROOKS' Kaiko 51.
In the IRC division, Yendys is also holding first place from the improving X-43 Great Expectations, skippered by another CYCA member Rod WILLS, and Merlin.
In the PHS division, overall first place is held by last year's winner Azzuro, skippered by Trevor COSH and Jim LAWLER from Sydney Amateur Sailing Club.
Azzuro, a 14.17m Bruce Clark designed, is first in the PHS fleet and first on handicap ahead of another Amateur's entrant Bright Morning Star of Randal WILSON and Hugh O'NEILL.
After failing to report at the skeds since Saturday night due to communication problems, AFR Midnight Rambler of Ed PSALTIS and Bob THOMAS was able to make radio contact at midday today through the yacht Great Expectations, which relayed their position to race control. They gave their position about 110 nautical miles from the finish.
Meanwhile, the CYCA boat Chancellor of Ted TOOHER has retired from the race with power problems and is heading back to Sydney.
Applications to enter the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race close with the CYCA Sailing Office at 1700 hours this coming Friday 4 November.