Jockeying for the handicap prize

TP52s are in the frame for this year's overall prize in the Rolex Sydney Hobart

Sunday December 28th 2008, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: United Kingdom
An 11th hour battle among Australia’s top 50-foot yachts for the ultimate prize in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Tattersall’s Cup for the winner on corrected time, has been taking place in Storm Bay at the entrance to Hobart’s Derwent River.

Three TP52s are in the top six places, with Bob Steel’s Quest in first place, the indomitable Syd Fischer sailing his 40th Hobart race with his latest Ragamuffin snapping at Quest’s transom in second and Alan Whiteley’s Victorian sister to those two boats, Cougar II, in sixth place. Between them are Ray Roberts’ Quantum Racing and Geoff Ross’s Reichel/Pugh 55, Yendys.

Ragamuffin, behind Quest on the water, is within seven minutes of Quest’s corrected time. Quest is 11 hours inside her required finishing time to win the race on corrected
time as she enters the Derwent for the final leg of the race. Ragamuffin is also well inside their required finishing time but with an hour less to spare. Quantum Racing, Yendys and Cougar II are a further hour behind in their zone of comfort.

At 9.52am this morning Bryan Northcote, navigator of Quantum Racing, reported
damage to the Sydney-based canting keeled Cookson 50: “Everything was rosy until around 10pm last night we hit something doing 27 knots and broke our rudder at the post leaving about 1 metre below the hull. This reduced our boat speed down to 60% making it a very difficult trip down the Tassie coast. After extensive checking of the steering system established we could continue at reduced speeds, which dashed all our high hopes for IRC overall."

Despite the damage, Quantum Racing remains fourth overall.

More photos on the following pages....

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