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Wild Oats XI smashes Rolex Sydney Hobart race record

Wild Oats XI smashes Rolex Sydney Hobart race record
Wild Oatx XI heading to the finish line and a new race record in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart

Wild Oats XI smashes Rolex Sydney Hobart race record

The world's newest and now proven fastest racing maxi yacht, Wild Oats XI, crossed the finish line off Hobart's Castray Esplanade just after 08:00 this morning to slash more than one hour from the race record for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The world's newest and now proven fastest racing maxi yacht, Wild Oats XI, crossed the finish line off Hobart's Castray Esplanade just after 08:00 this morning to slash more than one hour from the race record for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Despite a drama in the Derwent River which forced Bob Oatley's crew to drop the mainsail,  the 30m maxi maintained 10 knots as she tacked up the river to the finish under jib alone.

Her elapsed time of 1 day 18 hours 40 minutes and 10 seconds has slashed 1 hour 7 minutes and 52 seconds from Nokia's record for the 628 nautical mile race set in 1999.

Whilst Nokia sailed to her record in a Bass Strait gale,  conditions for the 2005 race have been described as "benign" with the leaders in the 85 boat fleet having easy running and reaching conditions for most of the race.

A large crowd packed the foreshores of Constitution Dock to welcome the Wild Oats XI,  at 30m (98ft) the largest yacht ever to take line honours in the 61 year history of the race. 

Wild Oats XI is a Reichel/Pugh design and was built by the internationally renowned Sydney boat-builder John McConaghy at Mona Vale.  She was launched only in late November and had her first race in the CYCA's Big Boat Challenge.

 

 

 

The veteran owner, Bob Oatley, did not sail in the race but the crew included many outstanding Australian yachtsmen, including Mark Richards and Iain Murray.

"The race for line honours was decided on the first night at sea," skipper Richards said in Hobart after the finish.

Alfa Romeo,  Neville Crichton's 30m max, crossed the finish line in second place at 09:16 this morning,  just outside Nokia's previous record.

Third in the fleet is Grant Wharington's Skandia which is now in Storm Bay, about 29 nm from the finish. while Konica Minolta and AAPT are still north of Tasman Island.

On progressive IRC corrected times the Victorian yacht Living Doll, skippered by Michael Hiatt, heads the leader board from her sistership Chieftain,  the Irish entry skippered by Gerard O'Rourke,  with Stephen Ainsworth's Loki third in current standings.