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The Heemskirk Consolidated Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race is 480 nautical miles of tough grind down the often treacherous west coast of Tasmania.

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The 5.05 sched this morning heralded the closing stages in this closely sailed Heemskirk Consolidated Melbourne to Hobart race. 

As Hobart awakens this morning they will be pleased in the knowledge that Sally Rattle’s Archaumbault 35 Archie continue to tussle for the lead in this extraordinarily competitive race. 

Matt Hannafords No Fearr has called from the first of two final reporting positions, Cape Queen Elizabeth, 25 miles from Hobart, they appear to have made this report whilst still slightly south of the Cape.  They advised an ETA for Hobart of 9.25 this morning.

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At 9.45 this morning No Fearr the Matt Hannaford’s Cookson Farr 39 from the Mornington Yacht Club has taken Line Honours in the Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race.

 

As they went into last night five yachts lay within four miles of each other, the tactical game was afoot.  During the night Hannaford and his crew put themselves in front and just tried to stay there. 

 

“We had a plan to be first in and we had the jump on them and we knew we had the right boat for the conditions.  It really freshened around Maatsuyker Island, got in front of them and just changed back half a gear and just managed to stay in front.

We weren’t stressing the boat, every other time we had bolted on them and pushed the boat and pushed the crew the wind would just make us start again.  So we just thought we would just stay in front and keep it all even.’

 

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Elizabeth Street Pier is the site of celebration and commiseration today as the Heemskirk Consolidated Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race 2006 was finalised.

 

After four days at sea the first nine yachts have finished within just over four hours.

 

Matt Hannaford’s No Fearr, having duelled with Sally Rattle’s Archie during the night on the South East Cape and across Storm Bay, took the lead in the Derwent River to finish at 9:45am.

 

Sally Rattle is the best performed female skipper in the history of the race.

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At 15:12 this afternoon the lighthouse keeper at Maatsuyker Island David Dow has reported two yachts rounding the South West Cape. 

He has visual contact with the two lead yachts in the Melbourne to Hobart race, No Fearr and Hasta la Vista and describes them as being almost on top of each other. 

David is the lighthouse keeper on the Island and with his wife Lynne describes the experience as amazing.  He and Lynne can’t wait to come back again after this stint finishes in February.  He tells that there ‘a lot of interesting stuff to do.’