The Launceston to Hobart fleet sailed into day two in near perfect conditions.
After a fast overnight run across the North coast of Tasmania, the fleet turned the corner at Swan Island in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
AdvantEdge (Andrew Jones) and Fork in the Road (Gary Smith) have remained minutes apart, with the lead switching several times.
The two boats will be working hard to hold off Jazz Player (Brent McKay), Kraken (Mark Bayles and Andrew Sinclair) and FilePro (Tim Gadsby) as they remain a threat for line honours.
Racing his new Cookson 12, Sailient, Ian Snape had challenges as the boat experienced steering issues but he remains on the tail end of the front runners.
Leading IRC, Filepro is having an outstanding race. Sitting in second on IRC, Kraken is leading AMS.
With the small boats performing well on PHS, it was a fantastic day for the crew of Rumbeat (Justin Barr). Maintaining their PHS lead, they will need to sail a tactical race to hold off sistership, Invincible (Bryan Walpole), sitting in second place on PHS.
It was an exciting close encounter for the crew of Big Pup (Teresa Badrock and Anthony Brezemer) as some of the Sydney to Hobart yachts sailed in towards the coast, spurring on their enthusiasm to regain the lead.
Racing in a light easterly breeze, the fleet was expected to clear the Mercury Passage on Tuesday evening, before the run to Tasman Island and on to the finish in Hobart.
With just under 130 nautical miles to the finish for the lead boats, the estimated finish time will be mid-morning on Wednesday.
The Melbourne to Devonport race fleet found themselves becalmed in Bass Strait.
Brian Pattinson in his new Don Jones 42 Gusto Solo and Tasmanian Tim Olding in his Summit 35 Vertigo took an easterly route before making the turn back to the rhumbline.
Nigel Cunliffe in his XYacht, Scaramouche took the more direct but slightly westerly route and suffered for the choice.
Race director Jeremy Walton said: "The challenge will be to just keep the boat moving, to not give up. They will be slinking like cats around the boat trying not to disturb anything and waiting for the breeze to fill in."
The breeze was forecasted to increase late on Tuesday bringing relief to the crews who were expecting a finish between midnight and 2am.
Eddie Mackevicius reported mainsail damage on Merlion his Beneteau 40.7 and has retired from the race.
Tacticians on board Melbourne to Hobart yachts had to choose which way to sail around King Island.
Sailing west of the island has rarely been a race-winning course in the past 49 races but this year's weather made it an option.
Blue Water Tacks chose the most westerly course, searching for increased wind into Bass Strait.
Leading the fleet on Tuesday was Lord Jiminy with Alex-Team Macadie and Tevake ll close behind and Alien leading in all three handicap divisions having sailed the traditional course, east of King Island.
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