Sunday proves tough for smaller boats

Tough conditions in the Sydney to Hobart took their toll on the fleet trailing Wild Oats XI, which claimed a record-equalling seventh line honours win on Saturday night.

Perpetual Loyal and Ragamuffin finished second and third respectively.

As the number of yachts that reached the finish in Hobart increased, so too did the number of breakages and incidents on other yachts and withdrawals during a night that saw the strong south-westerly gales forecast blow off the Tasmanian south-east coast and Bass Strait.

By 8.45am Sunday and with nine yachts having finished the 628 nautical mile race, five more entrants had withdrawn, leaving 76 yachts from the 94 starters still at sea.

Latest to withdraw were the Bill Wild-owned 55 footer Wedgetail (dismasted), the 35-footer Luna Sea from Drummoyne, NSW (lost rudder), the Clipper 70-footer Henri Lloyd (lost rudder bearing), the Ker 46 Patrice (hull damage), and the 41-footer Black Adder (no reason given).

Furthermore, the crew of the Farr 45 Rush were sailing to Coles Bay where an ambulance was waiting to take a crew member who had broken their leg.

Wedgetail dismasted south of Tasman Island at about 4am. Latest reports are that all the crew, including navigator Adrienne Cahalan who is in her 22nd Hobart race, are well and the boat is safe and protected near the Tasmanian Peninsula north of the island and readying to motor most probably to Hobart.

Other yachts were also near Wedgetail after dawn on Sunday. They were Jim Cooney's 80-footer Brindabella, Zefiro and the British 82-footer Nikata.

Meanwhile, other yachts were also near Luna Sea on Sunday morning and race officials reported that the crew are also well and safe as it waited for the arrival of the police launch Van Diemen that left Lady Barron and was estimated to reach her by midday.

With regards to the Clipper entrant Henri Lloyd, the Clipper Race Office issued the following statement:

"At 2211 local time (1111 UTC) Henri Lloyd informed the Clipper Race Office of its intention to retire from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Clipper Race Director Justin Taylor explained:

"This is due to a damaged rudder bearing which is allowing excessive movement of the rudder shaft.

"The skipper is making a seaman-like decision to retire and motor sail into the comparatively calmer waters off Flinders Island before altering course for Hobart.

"This is in an effort to prevent further damage to the rudder bearing. The yacht is not in any danger and should make Hobart without any outside assistance.

"We are monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with the skipper."

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