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by Ian Grant on 29 Dec 2000
Sydney sloop Ninety Seven overcame a major drama at sea last night to retain her handicap lead in the Telstra Sydney-Hobart race this morning.

The crew of Ninety Seven well known for their ability to tough it out when the going gets tough sailed into rig and sail testing winds recorded at 50 knots on the Tasmanian East Coast overnight.

Skipper Graham Gibson experienced a crew-member overboard drama at 1840 hours last night, fortunately the cold wet and frightened unidentified crew member was swiftly recovered from the boisterous seas.

However while the frightening experience did some harm Ninety Seven continued to slog her way south into the gale strength winds and retain the overall lead.

She was declared the provisional race leader on the water this morning, however the Tasmanian Lyons 41 Interum skippered by Craig King was making a late challenge just ahead previous race winner Sap Ausmaid and Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin.

These placing's are strictly provisional and the real truth in regards to performance will only be confirmed when these yachts complete the course later today.

Dual Hobart race winner Lou Abrahams skippering his new Sydney 38 Another Challenge led the Division B fleet from the 1998 winner Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis) and Doctor Who (Roger Jackman).

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