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Freak storm hit Sydney-Hobart fleet

Thunderstorms and high winds reaching 80 knots have swept through the Sydney-Hobart race fleet causing damage and many retirements. No injuries have been reported but 11 yachts have retired including two yachts that lost their masts..
The yacht "Grundig" has issued an emergency call to nearby vessels. Reports indicate the yacht has suffered a major delamination in its bow and is taking in water.
Meanwhile, Djuice Dragons, one of the VOR boats competing in the race who suffered a leaky bow tank overnight, is now back in action thanks to some swift bailing out and repair work by the crew.
The VOR yacht Amer Sports Too was under bare poles in the middle of the Bass Strait tonight as crew worked to save the mast after failure of a strop in the headstay.
The failure was at the eye end of the stay at deck level. Skipper Lisa McDonald and crew have rigged a jury forestay and expect to be sailing again in a couple of hours. They will continue to Hobart, which is 310 nautical miles away, where shore crew are waiting with a replacement strop.
Having spent the night struggling in strong winds with a broken rudder, the Swedish yacht, SEB, skippered by Gurra Krantz has been forced to retire from the Sydney-Hobart race. The incident happened 70 miles off Edistone Point on the north-east tip of Tasmania. The main rudder's bearing fell to pieces and as a result, the rudder broke away from the hull and became unattached. The crew managed to salvage the rudder before it went to pieces and installed the emergency rudder. The boat is now on course for Eden, on the south-east coast of Australia to carry out necessary repairs before sailing or transporting the boat to Auckland, New Zealand.

Thankfully the violent conditions the fleet experienced overnight have now eased and the leading yachts are already a third of the way through the race, with the line honours winner expected to arrive some time on Saturday morning.


30/12/2001

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