New Zealand yacht leads Rolex Sydney Hobart by over a mile +Video

Alfa Romeo passes to leeward of Wild Oats and ICAP Leopard at a crucial point just after the start of the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.

New Zealand supermaxi, Alfa Romeo (Neville Crichton) is leading the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race by over a mile at the latest schedule five hours into the 605 mile offshore classic.

After a sail setting error at the start, Alfa Romeo recovered well to position herself to leeward of the three leading yachts as they neared the exclusion zone, before exiting Sydney Heads.

Alfa Romeo was the first to gybe away and appeared to have sailed into a hole in the offshore breeze, however she gybed back in engage with ICAP Leopard (GBR) and Wild Oats (AUS) the Alfa Romeo had picked up better pressure, and sailed through to leeward of Wild Oats who promptly gybed, but was unable to lower her spinnaker and had a jib only half hoisted.

The error from the four times race winner was sufficient for Alfa Romeo to slide through to leeward, clear her air and round the first turning point with a clear lead.

As the yachts hardened up to head down the New South Wales coats into a 15kt breeze with passing showers, the crews settled down for a game of follow the leader.

At the latest reports Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats have sailed well east of the rhumb line with ICAP Leopard inshore.

Update
Later updates showed Alfa Romeo retaining her lead, by just over half a mile from ICAP Leopard, with Alfa Romeo moving to be ther most inshore of this group. Race projections by Sail-World using www.predictwind.com!PredictWind and www.iexpedition!Expredition routing software show the lead yacht may not reach Hobart until the early morning of 29 December 2009.



Cruising Yacht Club of AustraliaRolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2009LINE HONOURSAs at racetime 00:05:10 - 26 December 2009, 6:10pm
 EST. ELAPSED
YACHT NAMELAT LONG DTG SOG COG TIME & SPEED
LINE HONOURS Overall
1Alfa Romeo34° 46' S 151° 42' E 576.8  14.0  224  02:13:58:04  10.1       
Neville Crichton NZ42nm E of Kiama  29 Dec, 2:58am  
2Wild Oats XI34° 45' S 151° 43' E 577.9  13.5  228  02:14:31:55  10.0       
Mark Richards (5) NSW42nm E of Kiama  29 Dec, 3:31am  
3ICAP Leopard34° 45' S 151° 43' E 578.5  12.4  228  02:17:12:40  9.6       D
Mike Slade (3) UK42nm E of Kiama  29 Dec, 6:12am  
4Lahana34° 39' S 151° 42' E 584.1  10.8  176  03:01:54:51  8.5       D
Peter Millard NSW44nm SE of Botany Bay  29 Dec, 2:54pm  
5Ran34° 36' S 151° 36' E 584.9  11.3  168  03:02:06:03  8.5       D
Tim Powell (2) UK40nm SE of Botany Bay  29 Dec, 3:06pm  
6Ichi Ban34° 36' S 151° 35' E 585.0  10.3  168  03:02:47:37  8.4       
Matt Allen (20) NSW40nm SE of Botany Bay  29 Dec, 3:47pm  
7YuuZoo34° 35' S 151° 34' E 585.9  10.8  172  03:04:22:43  8.2       
Ludde Ingvall NSW38nm SE of Botany Bay  29 Dec, 5:22pm  
8Investec LOYAL34° 34' S 151° 34' E 586.8  16.2  268  03:04:12:36  8.2       
Sean Langman (18) TAS37nm SE of Botany Bay  29 Dec, 5:12pm  
9Rapture34° 35' S 151° 50' E 589.6  10.8  132  03:11:06:17  7.6       
Jeff Hanlon (2) USA45nm SE of Botany Bay  30 Dec, 12:06am  
10Loki34° 28' S 151° 27' E 590.5  9.7  152  03:14:15:06  7.3       D
Stephen Ainsworth (12) NSW30nm S of Botany Bay  30 Dec, 3:15am  
11Yendys34° 28' S 151° 37' E 592.8  9.7  236  03:21:10:05  6.7       
Geoff Ross (14) NSW33nm SE of Botany Bay  30 Dec, 10:10am  
12Limit34° 29' S 151° 38' E 592.9  10.3  232  03:20:27:22  6.8       D
Alan Brierty (6) WA34nm SE of Botany Bay  30 Dec, 9:27am  
13Shogun34° 27' S 151° 38' E 594.0  8.6  156  03:22:41:03  6.6       
Rob Hanna VIC33nm SE of Botany Bay  30 Dec, 11:41am  
14Ragamuffin34° 27' S 151° 36' E 594.0  8.1  156  03:23:45:38  6.6       
Syd Fischer NSW32nm SE of Botany Bay  30 Dec, 12:45pm  
15Living Doll34° 26' S 151° 37' E 594.6  8.6  148  04:02:36:30  6.4       D
Michael Hiatt (4) VIC32nm SE of Botany Bay  30 Dec, 3:36pm