</TD><TD vAlign=top>0015hrs, 27 DECEMBER 2008
At approximately 21:20 hrs, 32 miles south east of Point Perpendicular, a mayday call was issued from the yacht Georgia, a Farr 53 owned by Graeme Ainley and John Williams from Sandringham Yacht Club, as a result of losing her rudder and taking on water.
Tim Cox, Race Committee Chairman liaised with the relevant authorities including AMSA, NSW Water Police and the CYCA Emergency Management Team to effect a rescue. Radio Relay Vessel JBW assisted with the rescue by communicating instructions from the Race Committee to nearby vessels. Telcoinabox Merit, being closest to the stricken yacht effected a rendezvous and stood by for further instructions.
At approximated 23:00 all 14 crew members from Georgia were transferred to Telcoinabox Merit without incident via liferaft. Telcoinabox Merit set course for Batemans Bay, where the crew will be transferred to the Police launch Nemisis in daylight.
At the time of the crew transfer the yacht was verge of sinking and is likely to be lost at sea.
For anyone interested, just read FASTNET 79 by John Rousmaniere. Started reading Christmas morning and couldn't put it down until finished. Great read and great analysis. This is also a world class event.
The shark factor enters the Rolex Sydney Hobart equation
</TD><TD vAlign=top>2100hrs, 27 DECEMBER 2008 Wild Oats XI has confirmed that it hit a two-metre long shark at 6.40 pm tonight while sailing at about 20 knots east of Schouten Island on Tasmania’s east coast and while engaged in a tense match race with the other maxi in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race fleet,Grant Wharington’s Skandia.
The impact was so great that the shark bounced off Wild Oats Xl’s forward rudder and wrapped itself around the aft rudder. The boat has two rudders to improve steering and loss of leeway caused by the canting keel on the boat.
Co-navigator Ian “Fresh” Burns said the crew had to stop the boat, adjust the sails so that the maxi sailed backwards; and the shark was able to shake itself free and swam away. WildOats XI then reconfigured its sails and resumed hostilities with Skandia.
A short time ago, Skandia had resumed the lead in their duel and was 1.7 nautical miles ahead as they closed in on Tasman Island, the next turning point of the race, about 90 miles ahead of them.
Although they are both on race record time, the forecast at Tasman is for a light easterly tonight with a north-westerly not expected to fill in before about 4 am. That makes the 7.40 am local time race record tantalising.
Up until the shark incident, Wild Oats XI had been making solid gains in fresh reaching conditions, according to Burns.
“We have at stages reached up to 28-29 knots and have passed Skandia. This has pepped the crew up, but it is still likely to be a long night,” said Burns.