The battle for Line Honours in the 2022 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is set to reach its climax with a thrilling finish off Main Beach on Monday morning (local time).
The tactical decision to venture out has put Andoo Comanche, skippered by John Winning Jr, into pole position on the water, wrestling back the advantage she surrendered to Black Jack earlier this afternoon.
With accomplished navigators Justin Shaffer and Will Oxley on board, Andoo Comanche headed out to sea. She was around 50-60nm east of Nambucca Heads in the early afternoon.
The move seems to have paid off at this stage, with the VPLP 100 reaching speeds of 15knots earlier and now travelling at 13knots as she moves back towards shore.
With around 100nm to go, Andoo Comanche may approach the finish in the early hours of Monday (AEST) depending on overnight conditions.
But Peter Harburg’s Reichel/Pugh 100 Black Jack, skippered by Mark Bradford, remains in close pursuit, around 6nm further back.
Black Jack navigator Alex Nolan says the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Line Honours winner has been in good shape today and is ready for a big final night.
“The big bus (Andoo Comanche) is out to sea rumbling, and the skinny boats (Black Jack and Hamilton Island Wild Oats) are inshore, trying to cut the corner,” Nolan said.
“It has been a busy day getting the most out of the boat.
“We’re hoping for a few things to go our way tonight. It will be an interesting night!”
Hamilton Island Wild Oats, skippered by Mark Richards, is third on the water, around 11nm behind Black Jack, who has gradually pulled away throughout the afternoon.
The 52-footers continue to dominate the battle for IRC honours, but predicting the winner is a fool’s game.
Six of them are separated by less than 6nm: Gweilo, Ichi Ban, Zen, Patrice, Quest and Celestial.
The 52s continue to trade places on the leaderboard and it looks like there will be some riveting finishes.
Norton White Corum, Mako and Mondo lead the charge for PHS honours, while Crux, Rum Rebellion and Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth are the frontrunners in the Two-Handed Division.
There have been three retirements (Shearwater – radio issues; Pekljus – backstay ram issues; and Local Hero – minor injury, all ok on board otherwise), with 58 boats still racing.