• Sydney to Hobart fleet depart, bracing for gales

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    SYDNEY: American super-yacht Comanche was leading the fleet in Australia’s Sydney to Hobart on Saturday, after bolting out of the harbor at the start of the gruelling 628-nautical-mile (1,163 kilometer) race. Australian rival and 2014 line honours winner Wild Oats XI had initially led in the moments after the starter’s horn blew, but was overtaken by supermaxi Perpetual Loyal before Comanche took the lead. Officials have warned of thunderstorms and gales later Saturday as the fleet travel down the east coast of Australia, saying those at the back of the pack will see the worst of the weather. Three yachts were early retirements, including one which was withdrawn after a collision in Sydney Harbour, bringing the fleet down to 105 boats.

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