Sunday, 10 April 2011

ASONYR: Loki continues to lead the way to Newcastle

Loki continues to lead the fleet. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi,

by Di Pearson

Six and a half hours into the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 213 nautical mile Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race, very little has changed on the race track, as Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki continues to lead Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin and Colin and Gladys Woods’ Pretty Fly III on the water and there is little change in those behind them.

Loki, a Reichel/Pugh 63, was 17 nautical miles east of Norah Head, clocking an average speed of 7.2 knots shortly after 6.00pm tonight, but her speed was up and down, as winds started to fade, then reappear. Fischer’s TP52 was just five miles behind the leader, with Pretty Fly III tucked in just behind Ragamuffin.

Loki has 165 miles to reach the finish on the Hunter River and is sitting in seventh place overall under IRC. Leading overall is Ragamuffin with Roger Hickman’s Farr 43, Wild Rose, in second place and Loki’s rival for the Blue Water Pointscore, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45, Victoire, is in third place.

Ragamuffin is also leading under ORCi from Anthony Dunn’s Equinox II and Wild Rose, while Bruce McKay’s Sayer 12, Wasabi is leading PHS from Anthony Sweetapple’s Quetzalcoatl and Rod Skellet’s Krakatoa II.

Bruce MacKay's Sayer 12 Wasabi currently leads the PHS Division. Image copyright Andrea Francolini/Audi.

However, these results are early in the race and anything could, and is happening, according to Michael Bellingham on Loki.

“It’s been interesting with rain cells sweeping over the fleet. No wind squalls, but big direction changes. We’ve run out of wind a few times - and each time the fleet is making ground on us,” Bellingham said.

“The last hour hasn’t been so good; but we appear to be on the move again with wind 6-8 knots and anywhere from south to south-west to south-east. Otherwise, all is good and happy, with lots of racing to go.” The good part referred to the Hoi Sin barbecue chicken with rice noodle stir fry the crew were about to tuck into for dinner.

To follow the race from the start visit the official race website or on follow it on Twitter Line honours positions and provisional handicap results can be viewed at any time from the Standings section of the race website.