Patchy wind forecasts have threatened the dream ending for Wild Oats as winds ease in the final stretch of the Sydney to Hobart blue ocean classic.
Comanche, which more than halved Wild Oats’ lead this morning, has closed to within 10 nautical miles of the Australian supermaxi, creating an opportunity for Comanche to still steal victory.
Some 38 nautical miles from Hobart, as of 12.30pm today, both crews prepare for the notoriously unpredictable final stretch through Storm Bay and the Derwent River and to the finish line in Hobart.
Despite maintaining speeds of around 20 knots for most of the day, Wild Oats crewman Chris Links said they needed the wind to stay up to stay in front.
“We don’t need a lot of breeze but if we have some wind so we can keep moving… the last thing we want to do right now is stop and for Comanche to catch us we’re just at the moment trying to keep the boat going as best we can,” he said.
The drop in wind will also make it unlikely for the Australian yacht to set a record eighth line honours this year.
Spectators have gathered at Hobart’s Constitutional Dock, preparing to welcome the race finishers, and if sailing patterns continue they could be treated to a spinnaker finish.
The remainder of the fleet are compressed coming down the New South Wales coast and expected to benefit from the dramatic increase in breeze forecast from Sunday evening to Monday morning.
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