Eight left at sea in Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

Local Hero is still racing – credit Andrea Francolini, CYCA

“We are not giving up,” Philip Bell stated from the yacht She, one of eight yachts remaining at sea in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race this morning, and the miles are dragging out, as the eight search for the elusive breeze.

“We are in a lull – no breeze – we have the asymmetrical up trying to point in the general direction of Point Danger and hoping to get a heave-ho to the finish line,” Bell said at 7.55am.

With humour intact, Bell continued: “We are in ‘no control’ mode, but at least we still have food. Mark (Mark O’Dea his navigator) is plotting and praying for the 10 knots from the west that the forecast is showing.

“We’ve got three good hours of sailing to go, but if we don’t get that breeze, I don’t think we’ll make it till around 2pm, but I promise we are trying,” Bell signed off.

She’s the Culprit, the Inglis/Jones/Hart 39 owned by the Culprit Syndicate from Lake Macquarie will be next to finish. She has two more miles to go.

Behind ‘the Culprits’ are Bill Wheeler’s Vanishing Point, Simon Kurts’ Love & War, last year’s overall winner, Komatsu Azzurro owned by Shane Kearns, Chris Matthews Local Hero, David Hows Ocean Gem, James Whittle’s Takani and She, a modified Olsen 40, which have between 8 and 21 miles to reach the finish at Main Beach, Southport, in what has been billed ‘the slowest Gold Coast race in living memory’.

She and Ocean Gem are sure to receive a warm welcome and loud cheer to Southport Yacht Club, as both are representing the CYCA’s finishing partner in this 384 nautical race, where the prize giving will be held at midday today.

However, David Kellett on JBW, the race’s radio relay vessel, had good news for the crews this morning, delivering a forecast of north/west to south/westerly winds of 15-20 knots during the day. It could not come soon enough, Love & War reporting: “No wind. What little comes every now and then might be from the north-east…”

In more pressure during the night and the very early hours of the morning, the crews of Love & War and others thought they would be tucked up at Southport by breakfast.

In other news, officials have now confirmed TP52’s have claimed all three places on the podium. Ichi Ban was declared overall winner of the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race yesterday, also winning ORCi overall. She is joined by Peter Wrigley and Andy Kearnan’s Koa in second place overall, with Peter Hickson’s M3, skippered by Brent Fowler from Western Australia third.

This was particularly good news for M3, which had a disastrous start to the Rolex Sydney Hobart when she shredded her forestay and retired. She went on to compete in the Club Marine Pittwater Coffs Harbour Yacht Race, but on the return home in foul weather, the crew were forced to abandon the boat, which was then beached and later recovered.

James Murchison’s Tripp 47 has pipped John Cameron’s Dibley 46, More Witchcraft, to the post by 24 minutes to take PHS overall.

Retirements remain at 10 boats.

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