Overnight yesterday, three yachts in the 2002 Gosford to Lord Howe Island race broke Dr. Tony Fisher’s 1988 Helsal II race record.
To break the longstanding record for this 408 nautical mile blue water ocean race, the boats had to cross the finish by 05:23:21
Ian Treleaven's Volvo 60 Merit finished at 22:34:21 local time last night, Terry Mullen's Farr 49 Sting finished at 04:09:42 this morning and less than an hour later Bob Robertson's Sydney 60 Eureka II finished at 05:03:17
Fast, wet and a good shakedown for this year's Sydney to Hobart race, is how Sam Hunt, Sailing Master aboard Sting, the provisional IMS handicap winner has described the race. "Very rarely do we sail a 408nm Category One ocean race on the starboard tack"
Sting (formerly raced as Yendys) will now hold the rare distinction of being both a Sydney to Hobart overall winner and a Gosford to Lord Howe handicap winner if things do not change over the next few hours. Sting is ahead on IMS from Polaris of Belmont and Zoe.
The race started off Broken Bay on Saturday in SE winds of 20 to 30 knots and these conditions prevailed for most of the race, except for an hour on Sunday afternoon when the wind shifted for Merit to the south and the yacht carried a fractional spinnaker for a short time. Otherwise it was one reef and a jib top reacher on the starboard tack for the entire race.
The fleet is continuing towards the Island with considerable speed. The Sydney 41 Zoe finished at 9:43:47 and at this afternoon's 15:05:00 sked (16:05 DST), last years handicap winner Koolewong was only three miles from the Island.
Race organizers expect to see all of the remaining 13 competitors in the lagoon by Tuesday lunchtime making this year's event the fastest ever for all of the entrants.