The last of the Sydney to Hobart yachts, Maluka of Kermandie, was due to arrive in time to join New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The restored 80-year-old, nine-metre timber boat and its six-member crew, including skipper Sean Langman, was expected to cross the finish line on the River Derwent on Monday evening (AEDT), more than five days after setting out from Sydney Harbour.
Four boats were closing on the finish in cold westerly winds on Monday afternoon, making a total of 71 expected to complete the 68th version of the gruelling 628 nautical mile race.
Those yet to finish were having no effect on divisional winners, which were confirmed at Constitution Dock on Monday.
Several had nailbiting waits for rivals to finish and their standings to be confirmed, including the fiercely contested division three race won by Queensland’s Lunchtime Legend.
“The Hobart was definitely the one where we wanted to prove ourselves most,” crew member Adam Brown told the race website.
“It was really fierce out there. Every sked, the lead changed – everyone was hungry for that win.
“It was extremely tough, but that makes the win sweeter.”
Elsewhere, the Tasmanian crew of Dump Truck have spoken about their agonising day-three decision to quit the race with rigging damage in near-gale force southerlies.
A loud bang about 2pm (AEDT) on Sunday spelled the end of their race 100 nautical miles from the finish.
“Had the forecast been lighter, had it have happened further south when we were rounding Tasman (Island), we might have been able to nurse her home,” skipper Justin Wells said.
“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life.
“To say to your crew, ‘I’m sorry, we’ve got to radio in, we’re out’, that’s tough, really tough.”
Divisional winners will receive their trophies at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania on New Year’s Day.