SPORT - Ocean Affinity takes line honours in Lord Howe Island Race

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Hempel Paints 37th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race

SPORT - Ocean Affinity takes line honours in Lord Howe Island Race
SPORT — <I>Ocean Affinity</I> takes line honours in Lord Howe Island Race

0830 November 2: The Queensland yacht Ocean Affinity crossed the finish line shortly after sunrise this morning to take line honours in the 414nm Hempel Paints 37th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race.

The next objective for Stewart Lewis and his crew of the Marten 49 from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron is to contest the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in late December.

The rugged Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race is a qualifying event for the Rolex Sydney Hobart, taking the fleet across 400nm of open ocean in the Tasman Sea.

Ocean Affinity finished at 06.36.27 this morning, comfortably clear of the Sydney yacht Balance, Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45, which is not expected to finish until mid-morning. At the 0705 ‘sked’ Balance was just over 13nm south of Lord Howe but beating slowly into 20- to 25-knot northerly headwinds and rough seas.

With another Queensland yacht, Charlie’s Dream (Peter Lewis) retiring from the race overnight, but continuing to Lord Howe Island, the remaining nine boats from the original fleet of 17, with the exception of Copernicus, are well south of the island.

The northerly winds could reach 30kts as the yachts near Lord Howe Island and it’s unlikely there will be any further finishers, other than Balance, before mid to late afternoon. Copernicus, Greg Zyner’s Radford 12, reported her position at 0705 as 58.3nm from the finish and well to the north of the next boat, Phil Bennett’s 11.5 sloop King Billy, the John King-design, which gave a position 61nm from the finish.

Balance, reported to be leading fleet and first on IRC handicaps last evening, has slipped back overnight, losing line honours to Ocean Affinity and also top place on progressive IRC results. King Billy is now top of the IRC leaderboard ahead of Balance and Ocean Affinity on corrected times.

In the PHS division, reduced to three boats, the tailender Polaris of Belmont, skippered by Chris Dawe from Gosford Sailing Club, is now assessed as first on corrected time from Antony Sweetapple’s Quetzalcoatl. The third boat still racing in the PHS division, Michael Martin’s Frantic from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, remains an unknown factor as she continues to fail to make radio contact at the ‘skeds’.

Polaris of Belmont, which reported sighting a white signal flare from Frantic early yesterday morning, still has nearly 127nm to sail to Lord Howe Island and will not finish until late on Wednesday.

Peter Campbell

Photo: Ocean Affinity wins Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race


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