Sydney to Hobart handicap race in the balance

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    The nervous wait is almost over for Jim Delegat and the crew of Giacomo who will soon be named overall winners of the Sydney to Hobart.

    The Volvo 70-class yacht from New Zealand crossed the finish line in the darkness of Wednesday morning finishing second in line honours.

    She tops the handicap leaderboard and only two contenders can rob her of the prize.

    “It will be inevitable by about 4pm,” Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore John Markos told AAP on Thursday.

    The greatest threat is Tassie tub and race veteran Maluka of Karmandie.

    The modest nine-metre timber vessel owned by Sean Langman would need to pick up the pace for a chance at the Tattersall’s Cup, with a projected finish time some 15 hours behind the necessary deadline.

    “Maluka is a beautiful boat, the fact you’d be prepared to take a boat that small in this race is quite an accomplishment,” Markos said.

    Queensland boat On Tap is the only other challenger, but is almost a day behind the pace needed for corrected-time victory.

    With more than 50 boats – from a race fleet of 83 – still to reach Hobart, calm waters on the city’s Derwent River have dashed the chances of many who had the potential to take overall honours.

    Mirror-like conditions have often limited speeds to less than a knot as some boats dropped anchor to stop drifting backward.

    It was a quick start to the 72nd blue water classic event which saw line honours winner Perpetual LOYAL smash the previous record time by more than five hours, finishing in just over a day and a half.

    Owner and skipper Delegat, whose two teenage sons helped make up the crew of 14, credited thoughtful race planning for his 2016 race success.

    “The key really is we picked a good plan, a good strategy, we really thought about the weather and we looked at where we had to be in the first 18 hours,” Delegat said after crossing the line.

    © AAP 2017
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