Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race - The Stick leads fleet

Icefire - Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race 2011
Mark Greenwood
Hempel 38th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race across the Tasman Sea is currently underway. Three yachts entered for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, The Stick, Wild Oats and Quetzalcoatl, are tonight leading heading the line honours, IRC and PHS handicap standings.

The modified Open 66 The Stick, skippered by Richard Christian, at 2030 hours tonight (8.30pm) was only 113 nautical miles from the finish of the 414 nautical mile race which started from Broken Bay at 1300 hours (1pm) on Saturday.

The Stick won’t break the race record of 34 hours 52 minutes set by Getaway Sailing in 2006, but the 21m sloop is on course to set the fastest time since then.

The satellite tracker on each of the eight yachts indicates that while The Stick’s boatspeed has slowed down since passing the halfway mark early this afternoon, she is still making 9.6 knots on a north-easterly course towards Lord Howe Island.

The Stick has sailed 130 nautical miles between 0900 hours this morning and 2030 hours this evening, close reaching in a north-westerly breeze. She is more than 50nm ahead of the next boat in the fleet, Peter Tucker’s Mummery 45 Icefire. Ten miles astern of Icefire is Quetzalcoatl, skippered by Antony Sweetapple, followed closely by Frantic (Michael Martin).

On corrected times, Roger Hickman’s 1993 Sydney Hobart winner Wild Rose heads the IRC division from Greg Zyner’s Copernicus and Icefire.

Quetzalcoatl is leading the PHS division on handicap from The Stick and the 40-year-old Cole 43 Polaris of Belmont, skippered by Chris Dawe from the Gosford Sailing Club.

The Stick, Wildfire and Quetzalcoatl are all from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Copernicus from Manly Yacht Club.

Copernicus under spinnaker - Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race 2011
Mark Greenwood