Three American yachts are leading the field in this year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race.?
Three American yachts are leading the field in this year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The yachts left Sydney in a light breeze on Monday.
SYNOPSIS: A record fleet of 130 yachts assembled at the headquarters of the Cruising Yacht Club, in Rushcutters Bay in Sydney, with two of the American yachts, 'Windward Passage' and 'Kialoa' the favourites right at the beginning.
There was a flurry of last minute activity on some yachts, while on others some of the crew at least seemed to be taking it a little more easily.
As the boats moved up for the start of this year's race, a light north easterly breeze was blowing. And following the competing boats as they took up their positions were hundreds of small craft crammed with spectators, all hoping for the best views of this popular Australian event. At twelve noon, the starting canon was fired by the Governor of New South Wales Sir Roden Cutler, aboard the Australian naval ship Buccaneer -- and the 1977 Sydney to Hobart race was on.
Right from the start, the three big American yachts took the lead. 'Phantom' followed by 'Kialoa' followed by 'Windward Passage'. There was only one other American boat in the race, and still the spectators kept up their pursuit. 'Phantom' maintained her initial lead over the bigger ketch 'Kialoa'-but there was still a long way to go. 'Kialoa' and 'Windward Passage' both carry about 10,000 square feet (3,000 square metres) of sail, which can push them along at speeds of up to 14 knots when conditions are right. Ahead were three days of hard racing in one of the toughest yacht races in the world-the more than 630 nautical miles to Hobart in Tasmania.