Ben Renshaw, crewing on Rush, faces a painful few hours after breaking his leg in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart last night as strong winds battered the fleet, damaging several boats.
Rush, currently 29th on line honours, was closing on the Tasmanian coastline south of the Freycinet Peninsula when the incident occurred and is now sailing northwest to Coles Bay, where an ambulance will be waiting for Renshaw. The 14-metre Victorian yacht is expected to arrive there around 1pm today and has not yet retired from the race.
Gale force south-westerly winds, gusting above 45 knots, have also damaged the fleet, forcing a number of retirements. Wedgetail (formerly Yendys,) was dismasted at about 4am off Tasman Island. The crew are safe and the 18m Queensland yacht is now motoring towards Hobart.
Two boats suffering rudder damage also retired: Luna Sea, an 11m yacht from Sydney, lost its rudder just after 7.30am, 53 nautical miles east of Flinders Island. The police launch Van Diemen is expected to rendezvous with the stricken yacht at midday. Meanwhile the leading British Clipper 70 Henri Lloyd lost rudder bearing east of Cape Barren Island at around 10pm last night and is now heading for Hobart.
Also out is Patrice, a 13.5m new, light displacement carbon-hulled racer from Sydney, which suffered minor hull damage east of Tasman Island around 7.40am and is motoring north to Orford. The boat has been in the top five on handicap.
And Black Adder, the race straggler, which had yet to begin crossing Bass Strait, decided, perhaps wisely, to retire to Eden on the NSW/Victorian border..
Nine boats have now retired from the 94-boat fleet.
Meanwhile, 10 boats have crossed the finish line, with Wild Oats XI taking line honours just after 7pm on Saturday for a record-equalling seventh win. Perpetual Loyal was second, three hours behind, followed by Ragamuffin 100, 80 minutes later.
Also finished, in order, are Black Jack, Beau Geste, Giacomo, Wild Thing, Ichi Ban, Victoire and Varuna.
Victoire is currently leading the IRC handicap race, with Chutzpah needing to finish by 4.30pm today to beat her, but current estimates put Chutzpah’s finish time at 5.30pm.
faceboat Sailors with disABILITIES continues to perform well and is now just 105mn from the finish line, just past Wine Glass Bay, in 33rd position for line honours and 5th on the PHS handicap.
The crew is reported to be in good spirits and still smiling, despite the rough ride and the boat survived undamaged.
Sailors with DisAbilities reports on Facebook that the wind has dropped to 27 knots and there are “A few sore muscles and sore bums.”
They expect to arrive in Hobart overnight and are “Looking forward to a cold beer and hot shower.”
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