The American maxi Sayonara, owned by computer billionaire Larry Ellison, was set to win the Sydney to Hobart race as she made painfully slow progress over the last few miles up the Derwent River last night, writes Stuart Alexander. Light winds over the last 24 hours destroyed any hopes of the 75-footer, on which Rupert Murdoch is crewing, beating the 20-year-old record time of two days, 14hr, 36min and 56sec.
But Sayonara, which slowed from an average of over 12 knots in the first 24 hours to less than five in the last 12, was well clear of the leading Australian contender, George Snow's Brindabella, which was becalmed 20 miles behind, with Peter Walker's 69ft Foxtel Amazon in third place.
Forecasts of a brisk 15-20 knot north-westerly promised a fast finish for the chasing bunch of nearly 100 yachts and the opportunity for a win on handicap by a smaller yacht and place changes among the eight three- boat teams in the Southern Cross Cup.
n More than 200 entries from 42 countries, including a contingent of 44 from Germany and 27 from South Africa, have already been received for the Hobie Cat 16 World Championships to be staged from 1-8 March in Dubai.