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24 March 2002, 01:07 pm
Grundig Takes Lead at Smokey Cape
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photo:Daryl Krasu

Sydney to Mooloolaba Race

Sean Langman’s Grundig, the light displacement 66-foot ocean racing version of an 18-foot skiff, has taken the lead in the Forrester Properties Sydney to Mooloolaba ocean race.
Grundig slipped ahead of the 82-footer, Australian Skandia Wild Thing, in light breezes off the New South Wales Mid North Coast.

Grundig led the 33-boat fleet past Smokey Cape shortly after the 1605 hours (4.05pm) position reports ("skeds"), opening up a break of more than five miles over Grant Wharington's Australian Wild Thing which had led the fleet from the start yesterday.

A tactical gamble by the 80-footer Brindabella (George Snow) in going well offshore this morning failed badly and at this afternoon's "sked" she had dropped to 20 nautical miles astern of Grundig.

Three miles astern of Brindabella came the former Volvo 60, Line 7 (Ian Treleaven) followed closely by last year's IMS winner, Ragamuffin, Syd Fischer's Farr 50, with Bob Steel's Nelson/Marek 46, Quest, less than a mile astern.

Winds have been light all day, with many of the smaller boats "parked" off Seal Rocks before picking up a light 6-10 knot north-easterly seabreeze.

The VMG (boatspeed) of every boat has dropped dramatically overnight, with Wild Thing's VMG slipping from 8.89 knots yesterday afternoon to 7.37 knots this afternoon.

The current computer prediction of the time of arrival of the leader, Grundig, at Mooloolaba is not until 0400 hours (4am) on Tuesday, and that of some of the tailenders not until Thursday morning.

The forecasts for tomorrow is not encouraging, although a front is moving up the NSW South Coast which may assist the tailenders.

On corrected time, the refurbished Quest, sporting the latest carbon-fibre sails, has become the third different boat at the top of the leader board in the IMS Division, with Graham Gibson's Farr 47, Ninety Seven, in second place and Ragamuffin slipping from first to third.

The big boats are dominating the IRC division progressive results, with Grundig in first place ahead of Australian Skandia Wild Thing, Infinity III (Martin James) and Line 7.

Since this morning's "sked", About Time, Julian Farren-Price's Cookson 12, has slipped from first in the IRC division handicaps to eighth, apparently one of the yachts that were "parked" off Seal Rocks.

In the PHS Division, the Sydney 36, Local Hero, skippered by Colin Franklin, leads from John Cameron's Dibley 42, More Witchcraft, and the Rum Consortium's veteran Peterson 42, Hogs Breath Witchdoctor.
Peter Campbell/News Editor
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