Michael Martin’s TP 52, Frantic is storming up the NSW coast, leaving the rest of the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise fleet in its wake and consistent southerlies are likely to push her to the finish line well ahead of the pack, with estimates putting her arrival at between 6am and 7am QLD time, Thursday 4 January.
It will be no race record, Frantic trailing the position of race record holder, the Rogers 46 Shakti, owned by Doug Coulter, by around 69 nm.
In a tussle for second position are Nine Dragons, Bob Cox’s Dk 46, and Pretty Woman, the Farr 45 co-owned by RPAYC Commodore, Michael Lockley, Richard Hudson and Russell Murphy.
Speaking from onboard Nine Dragons, roughly 3 nm out to see off Hat Head, Edward Hawthorne said the south-easterly was providing “exhilarating sailing”.
“We saw a few storms, but it wasn’t too wild. We caught a 25 knot breeze which was helpful, but we blew up a spinnaker, which was a bit of a shock. We’re a bit slower than we’d like, but once it eases off, we’ll try a different spinnaker. Right now, we’re focused on chasing Frantic.”
Biting at their heels, or rather “riding the tail of the Dragon” as Michael Lockley put it, was Pretty Woman.
“We got plenty of breeze, around 31 knots, which is good for us. We’re sailing at about 20 knots boat speed and quite happy. We missed the storms, but we saw them.”
Mick Martin, owner of Frantic, “is definitely pot hunting” said Michael, referring to Frantic’s dizzying schedule of sailing since the Boxing Day start of the Sydney Hobart.