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by Ian Grant on 28 Dec 2000
Ludde Ingvall’s 24m maxi Nicorette battled through fresh winds in Bass Strait over night to establish an 8 n/ml line honours lead in the Telstra Sydney-Hobart race this morning.

Winds recorded to 40 knots and rough seas provided the on watch crew with a wet and cold crossing as Nicorette and the Victorian maxi Wild Thing skippered by Grant Wharington continued with the line honours duel.

But shortly after dawn Nicorette had edged clear and seemed poised to set up a line honours win as she approached St Helens on the North East tip of Tasmania just after 9-30 am with another 155 miles to sail.

A strong wind warning of 20-30 knot Sou-Westers with moderate to rough seas on the Tasmania East Coast this morning presented the fleet with another hard slog to the finish in the much calmer waters of the Derwent River.

Nicorette recently modified with a new keel fitted in Sydney just prior to the race had maintained an impressive 11.25knot average a fraction faster than Wild Thing while the third placed Volvo 60 News Corp gained control of her class match race by logging a 9.48knot average.

The present weather system means that Nicorette will still have another 17 hours at sea to repel the continuing challenge from Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing.

As expected the two maxi’s were just over 60 miles ahead of the four Volvo 60’s where News Corp led Tyco by a little under 2 miles then came illbruck another 4 miles astern and 8 miles to Assa Abloy.

John Karlbetzer’s Iain Murray helmed Bumblebee 5 held 7th place 10 miles clear of the Queensland sloop Eureka while SAP Ausmaid led the smaller yachts including last years overall race winner Yendy’s.

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