Melbourne to Osaka race
32 sailors aboard 16 yachts in the Melbourne Osaka 2007 double handed yacht race will cast off from Waterfront City at Docklands and head to the Port Phillip start line of Station Pier at Port Melbourne feeling both anticipation and nervousness as they look down the barrel of the 5,500 nautical mile journey ahead.
Ken Down and Shane Gaddes (Wasabi) have reclaimed the Melbourne Osaka double handed yacht race lead nearly three days into the race, but only two nautical miles separates the Sayer 12 from sistership RYU-JIN – fgi (Murray Bucknall/Jon Sayer) with Gusto (Patrick Giudice/Brian Pattinson, Vic) still in close contact, eight miles astern of the leader.
As at 22.00.00 UTC (8.00am AEST) the lead three were off Twofold Bay near Merimbula on the NSW South Coast, with Wasabi heading further to sea, whilst the other two continue to hug the coast.
Wasabi took an early charge out to sea in the 5,500nm race yesterday, so has been able to straight line it up the coast, while her counterparts have put in a number of tacks opting to stay closer inshore.
Cadi is holding onto fourth place, 26 miles behind Wasabi, then comes Alex, Dekadence and Southern Light, Runaway, COCORIN interland, Hullabaloo, Tamagomalu and Ingenue; the latter two just three miles apart. This group, all in the vicinity of Point Hicks, hugged the coastline overnight and put in plenty of tacks.
Pippin, from Noosa Heads in Queensland, leads the rearguard off Ninety Mile Beach, with Wild Boar and Esoterica giving chase less than 10 miles behind. Asadori (JPN), following a fatal plunge well out to sea on Day 1, remains in last place, 158 miles behind the race leader, but is now heading back towards the coast.
Over the past 16 hours, Wasabi (Qld) has made the best gains, covering 89 miles, with Wild Boar (JPN) making the least headway, sailing 44 miles in that period. Alex (Jock and Hamish MacAdie, Vic) has also made good ground, putting in an 81 mile run to take over fifth place from Dekadence (Vic) by one mile.
In these early stages, this is still anyone’s race. A number of positions have sea-sawed in the race so far, and will continue to do so. At the front, Wasabi still has 4,684 miles to go to the finish line off Osaka.
Positions from the Argos tracker:
Wasabi (Ken Down/Shane Gaddes), RYU-JIN (Murray Bucknall/Jon Sayer), Gusto (Patrick Giudice/Brian Pattinson), Cadi (John and son David Netherton), Alex (Jock and son Hamish MacAdie), Dekadence (Phil Coombs/Peter Walsh), Southern Light (Tom Crabb/Trent Justice), Runaway (James Ryssenbeek/Andrew McCole), COCORIN interland (Itaru Matsunaga/John Bankart), Hullabaloo (Jim and son Joe O’Keeffe), Tamagomalu (Makoto Hisamatsu/Jimmi Doherty), Ingenue (David James and wife Rosie Colahan), Pippin (Roger Sayers/Anthony Brown), Wild Boar (Shozi Yuneda/Jun Kanda), Esoterica (Campbell Reynolds/David Best) and Asadori (Shinsuke Nishi/Kyojun Fujita).
About The Race:
Staged every four years, the Organising Authority for the Melbourne-Osaka Yacht Race is made up of City of Melbourne, City of Osaka Promotional Council, Osaka Hokko Yacht Club, Japan Sailing Federation - Offshore Naikai, Sandringham Yacht Club and in association with Yachting Australia.
The event was first held in 1987 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Osaka and celebrates the sister city relationship between Melbourne and Osaka.
Race Record: Grant Wharington and Scott Gilbert on the 50ft Wild Thing in 1995, in the time of 26 days 20 hours 47 minutes 6 seconds, with an average boat speed of 8.5 knots.