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by Ian Grant on 29 Dec 2000
Swedish maxi sloop Nicorette skippered by her owner Ludde Ingvall sailed through gale strength winds in Storm Bay to take line honours in the Telstra Sydney Hobart yacht race before dawn this morning.

Ingvall supported by an outstanding crew including female navigator Adrienne Cahalan of Sydney and some of the Worlds most experienced big yacht sailors weathered the gusty Sou-West winds and sub 10 degree temperature to finish just after 3am.

They sailed through another gale warning under heavily reefed sails while the rest of the 62 yacht fleet made slow progress slogging against winds to 50knots and white crested waves off the east coast of Tasmania during the night.

Nicorette which had skilfully sailed a course east of the direct layline gained a big tactical advantage as she approached Tasman Island and this was converted into a big lead.

Her crew welcomed the deserved opportunity to have a warm shower their first since leaving Sydney on Boxing Day while Grant Wharington's Victorian maxi Wild Thing had rounded Tasman Island and was expected to finish before 8-30am.

As expected Nicorette's course time was slow over 18 hours behind the record of 1day 19 hours 48 minutes 2 seconds set by Nokia in ideal reaching and running winds.

However it was a convincing win considering most of the race was sailed in a succession of savage rig testing headwind gales.

Nicorette which had a peak of 55 knots in Storm Bay had just finished when Wild Thing rounded Tasman Island with 40.8 nautical miles to the finish.

The duelling Volvo 60's Tyco from Bermuda and Illbruck from Germany were poised to stage a match race up the Derwent River later today to decide third place.

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