Gusts of 30 knots, six boats jumping the gun and a minor collision provided race officials with plenty of work at the start of the CanTeen Gosford to Lord Howe race in Broken Bay today.
Limited by Island anchorages, nineteen invited yachts lined up for the 408-mile ocean race. With pin bias, the fleet crowded together in the short steep chop.
There was a general melee with considerable shouting and Alex Whitworth's Brolga 33 Berrimilla was involved in a collision with Fitness First Sting and was forced over the line.
Crews aboard Ichi Ban, Police Car and Seriously Ten realised they were over early and returned immediately but Fitness First Sting and Magnavox only returned after radio advice.
Berrimilla advised Race Control that damage was superficial and they were continuing in the race. They are flying a red protest flag.
Wayne MILLAR'S Sydney 41 Zoe started with speed above the pack with clear air, along with Nigel HOLMAN'S Sydney 38 Cuckoos Nest.
Within ten minutes, the entire fleet was on port tack, punching eastwards out into the Tasman Sea. The two Volvo 60's Magnavox 2UE and Seriously Ten were moving back through the fleet along with Ichi Ban and Fitness First Sting
Sail-World will provide detailed coverage of this 30th race, with news, radio sked position charts and mid-race handicap and line honours results.