Australian Three Peaks Race defending champion Whistler loses rudder

Whistler loses rudder - Australian Three Peaks Race 2011
Rob Cruse
Australian Three Peaks Race is a non-stop combination of ocean sailing and cross-country and mountain running

Defending Australian Three Peaks champion Whistler, skippered by David Rees from Hobart, lost her rudder off Bridport late this evening.

The crew has reported to race control on Flinders Island that they have gained some steerage using a drogue (a hollow cone of canvas or ropes towed astern of the boat) to control the boat in the rough seas and still strong winds.

Whistler is heading east towards Flinders Island and skipper Rees has said that when the boat gets closer to Bridport they will request a tow into port.

Just before 10pm Three Peaks veteran Bruce Edmunds had powered to a slight lead in his Inglis 46 Haphazard as the first five boats neared the Furneaux Islands group. This is Edmunds’ 23rd Three Peaks Race.

Haphazard heading for Flinders Island in the Three Peaks Race
Paul Scrambler

The yacht tracker placed Haphazard 10.8 nautical miles south of Flinders Island, with the catamaran VisitFlindersIsland.com.au, skippered by Steve Laird from Hobart, 11.7 nautical miles south-east of the island.

Close astern, sailing in what officials describe as a ‘freezing westerly', came early leader Peccadillo, Charles Meredith’s 46-foot catamaran from Melbourne, and Andew Jones’ Inglis 47, Advantedge which, like Haphazard, comes from the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club on the River Tamar.

The leading boats in the 90 nautical mile first sailing leg of the 23rd Australian Three Peaks Race should reach Lady Barron soon after midnight.

The runners will then start on the 65km run and climb to the peak of Mount Strzelecki and return to Lady Barron.

Whistler sailing past Garden Island on the Tamar River today - Australian Three Peaks Race 2011
Kate Phibbs

whistler - Australian Three Peaks Race 2011
Kate Phibbs

Australian Three Peaks Race website