Favourable conditions could lead to the line honours race record in the Melbourne to Devonport yacht race being broken by hours, rather than minutes, as strong winds push the race’s field toward Tasmania.

With the Sydney to Hobart race cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak in Sydney, attention turned to the Melbourne to Devonport race for the Rudder Cup on Sunday, with the fleet of 19 yachts leaving Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula at 11am.

The Melbourne to Devonport yacht race began at Portsea on Sunday, with 19 yachts heading out though the Heads into Bass strait in wild conditions.

The Melbourne to Devonport yacht race began at Portsea on Sunday, with 19 yachts heading out though the Heads into Bass strait in wild conditions.Credit:Steb Fisher

Race favourite Extasea, which won the Cock of the Bay yacht race on Boxing Day, led the field as of Sunday evening, and is expected to take line honours in the race. The Melbourne to Devonport is the oldest ocean race in Australia.

The field was forced to endure wild conditions through the notorious Port Phillip Heads part of the race, the gateway to Bass Strait with Ryujin and Carrera electing not to start and instead remain in Portsea.



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