Hunter crews keep on spinning

Hunter crews keep on spinning

CONTINUE: The Hunter team aboard She’s The Culprit. Picture: Marina NeilShe’s The Culprit has avoided a near disaster on Wednesday to continue this year’s Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
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Co-skipper and part-owner Glen Picasso said they struck a potential boat-damaging sunfish, but managed to keep sailing towards the finish line at Tasmania’s famed Constitution Dock.

“Running hard under spinnaker,” Picasso said in a text message to the Newcastle Herald.“Hit sunfish, no damage, continue racing Culprit.”

She’s The Culprit, an Inglis/Jones 39 out of Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, had improved seven spots to 66thoverallat 10pm but droppedthree places to fifth in the PHS division two category they won in 2014.

Aroundthe same time overnight, as the battle for record-breaking line honours up the Derwent River was won by Wild Oats XI overLDV Comanche, fellow Hunter crews Dare Devil (75th) and Freyja (98th) were further behind.

Dare Devil,a Farr-Cookson 47 out of Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club withSibby Ilzhofer the owner-skipper, had gone back 26 places overall in the previous24 hour period and slightly slipped to 11thinORCi division two.

Dr Richard Lees’ Freyja, a 73-year-old Atkins-Ingrid designed wooden boat out of the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, remained fourth in PHS division two handicap after being last out of Sydney Heads on Boxing Day.

Both Dare Devil and Freyja failed to finish the race last year.

There have beenthree retirements in 2017 with Wots Next, Rockall and Jazz Player all out of the running from the original field of 102 that started from Sydney Harbour on Tuesday.

Elsewhere and Sonic, a Newcastle Cruising YachtClubTP52 owned by Mick Martin and known as Frantic, was up to 23rdin line honours at 10pm with its South Korean crew who have chartered the boat for asecond consecutive year.

Black Jack,with Lake Macquarie’s Tom Addis as navigator, was third in line honours at the same time.

The crew of runner-up LDV Comanche, which had been overtaken by Wild Oats XI in tense closing stages after leading most of the race, featuredformer Maitland Blacks junior and 2014 Super Rugby champion Jeremy Tilse.