Queensland yacht takes line honours in slow race to Lord Howe Island

The Queensland yacht Ocean Affinity has taken line honours overnight in the Hempel Paints 36th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race, but in the second slowest time in more than a decade.
She is only the second Queensland yacht to win line honours in this classic ocean race since The Office, skippered by the late Arthur Bloore, led the fleet home in 1985.
Ocean Affinity, a Martens 49 skippered by Stewart Lewis from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, crossed the line at 9.12.08 last evening,  taking 56 hours 12 minutes and 08 seconds to sail the 414 nautical mile ocean race
across the northern Tasman Sea.
With no maxi yachts in the fleet this year and moderate northerly breezes for most of the voyage since the start from Broken Bay, north of Sydney, on Saturday,  the race was bound to be slower than in recent years.  The winds also lightened as Ocean Affinity neared the island.
In fact, it is the slowest time since Yendys took 57 hours in 2005 and Team Jaguar Infinity II took 57 hours 22 minutes over the slightly shorter course back in 1997.
The next boat in the fleet, Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas' AFR Midnight Rambler, is nearing the finish and most of the fleet are expected during the day. Based on last night's radio position reports,  the 51-year-old wooden yawl Sanyo Maris, skippered by Ian Kiernan was one line for a second successive IRC handicap win.

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