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Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The Sydney-to-Hobart fleet has been left battered, bruised and in potential disarray after menacing winds and high seas yesterday cut a swath through its numbers.

As the maxi yachts took on the treacherous crossing of Bass Strait, many of the yachts that were a long way behind and still travelling down the southern New South Wales coast were finding the going brutal after a tough first night following Sunday's start.

Last night, 12 yachts had withdrawn from the 628- nautical-mile race, including maxi YuuZoo, skippered by Ludde Ingvall, leaving the fleet at 74 vessels.

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Ingvall's 93-foot maxi was the first withdrawal for the day and second for the race after Jazz Player pulled out after damaging a mainsail on Sunday night and returned to Sydney.

Jazz Player's skipper Andrew Lawrence said he would wait until the weather calmed this morning before sailing the yacht home to Victoria.

''It's gutting. You do a year of preparation and you get a few hours in and you have to pull the pin,'' he said. ''You prepare as much as you can but the unpredictable happens and that's it.''

One other retired boat, Shamrock, was due to arrive in Sydney at 8am today, while Brindabella, Exile, Southern Excellence, Swish and Wot Eva were also turning around.

Ingvall's decision followed a night of mayhem that included losing two men overboard and sustaining a hole near the bow.

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

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