Veteran Sydney yachtsman Sid Fischer, aged 86, sailing in his 46th Rolex Sydney to Hobart, has shown he’s still a force to be reckoned with as his 30-metre supermaxi challenges Perpetual Loyal for second place in the line honours race.
With Wild Oats XI in the lead, but still 150 nautical miles from the finish line as the race record time it set last year passes, and Perpertual Loyal 38 nautical miles behind the leader, Fisher’s Ragamuffin 100 is 3nm astern.
At 86, Mr Fischer equals the record for the oldest skipper in the Hobart race, set by John Walker in Impeccable in 2008. Last year Ragamuffin 100 finished second for line honours behind Wild Oats XI.
It was a slow race overnight for the leaders, who covered just 70nm as they crossed Bass Strait and now head west towards the Tasmanian coast. The light conditions also saw the fleet bunch as the majority of them remain gathered in Bass Strait.
North-easterly winds today will push the fleet along quickly before a south-westerly change, possibly to gale force, hits the fleet tonight, battering the back end of the fleet in Bass Strait with seas of up to 10m.
After a strong first day, in which faceboat Sailors With DisABILITIES held the PHS handicap lead, and at one stage was sitting in 14th position over all, the 54-foot boat, crewed by people with a range of disabilities, has fallen back to 29th place in the 91-boat fleet.
Three boats have retired: Audi Sunshine Coast, Dodo and Wilparina.
The CYCA computer shows the first boat finishing late tonight or early tomorrow, but Wild Oats XI is currently moving at speeds in excess of 19 knots as it closes on land near Freycinet National Park.
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