28 Dec 2010

Race gets tight as leaders near final stage of Sydney to Hobart

5:21 pm on 28 December 2010

The leading yachts in the Sydney to Hobart made the most of calmer conditions as the race for line honours reaches its final stages.

The southwesterly gale-force winds which forced the retirement of 12 boats on Monday had subsided, with the first competitors expected in Hobart about midnight on Tuesday night.

Four-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI still has a 20 nautical mile lead over nearest rival fellow Investec LOYAL, while Lahana is a further 24 miles behind.

The fleet was reduced to 71 boats following the overnight withdrawals of Pirelli Celestial, Salona II, Nemesis and last year's overall winner Two True.

The NSW yacht Pirelli Celestial had problems with her mainsail, Sydney's Salona had steering troubles, while Two True had engine issues.