Archie claims Melb-Hob yacht race

Jeff Sloan's Archie was declared the winner of the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race after French entrant Guillaume Leroux's Lord Jiminy took line honours.

Jeff Sloan-skippered Archie has been declared the provisional winner of the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race.

The Archambault A35 yacht arrived in Hobart on New Year's Eve after successfully navigating through tough conditions on the 435-nautical-mile "Westcoaster" course.

It included two days of unprecedented light winds followed by thunderstorms.

"We knew it would be a tough race, which it was, but not because of big waves or strong winds," Sloan said.

"It was due to no breeze. It was the quietest crossing (of Bass Strait) we have ever done, followed by a good run down the coast with some storms at the end.

"Most of my crew are graduates of the ORCV Beyond the Bay program and I think that set them up to be able to handle whatever was thrown at us."

Line honours went to Guillaume Leroux's Lord Jiminy, the first French entrant in the 49-year-old race's history.

The Class 40 yacht arrived in Hobart at 3.30am on New Year's Eve.

"They were very challenging conditions after we rounded Maatsuyker Island (5.5km off the south coast of Tasmania) at about 4pm yesterday," Leroux said.

"When the thunderstorms came through we were down to a staysail (with no mainsail up) but still had a top speed of 22.5 knots.

"It was tough, but we enjoyed the challenge."

Second across the line was Douglas Lithgow's Archambault 40 Soiree Bleu.

Earlier, light winds had the six-boat fleet moving at less than four knots at different stages over the first two days of the race, which began on Friday.

Two yachts, Alien and Saltair, withdrew from the race.

Lisa Blair and Jackie Parry - the first all-female double-handed team in race history - on d'Albora's Climate Change Now were expected to finish at around 6.30pm on New Year's Eve.

The Hobart fleet left Portsea on Wednesday alongside the 10-strong Melbourne to Devonport race fleet.

Angus Fletcher's Tevake II won the Rudder Cup as the overall winner of the Melbourne to Devonport race, and also took out line honours.

"This was our twelfth race so it's good to have finally snared that one," Fletcher said.

"We have never managed to take line honours in the Westcoaster (Melbourne to Hobart).

"We've been second six times, so that's the one I need to do before I hang up my boots."


AAP