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Oats on record pace

Oats on record pace
Wild Oats XI on record pace Protected by Copyright

Oats on record pace

Five-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours winner, Wild Oats XI, remains on track to beat her own race record as she closes on the Tasmanian north-east coast.

Five-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours winner, Wild Oats XI, remains on track to beat her own race record as she closes on the Tasmanian north-east coast.

Mark Richards has steered Wild Oats to a dream run across Bass Strait today, continually logging 24 knots in a north-easterly wind that has fluctuated between 15 and 30 knots.

Abeam of Flinders Island, she is about 10 miles ahead of the pace she set in 2005 to take the treble of line honours, the race record and overall victory in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's annual blue water classic.

She must finish before 07.40.10 tomorrow at Hobart's Castray Esplanade to break the record of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds.

Syd Fischer's maxiRagamuffin-Loyalis 32 miles behind, but also on record pace.

The major threat toWild Oats' taking a second treble is the contingent of 60-footers behind her. Peter Harburg's Queensland yachtBlack Jacktook over the lead on handicap mid-afternoon. Pundits pre-race suggested the overall race win would more than likely to go to one of the boats in the 63-70ft range, and the prediction appears to be right on target.

Meanwhile, on board the last boat in the fleet,Charlie's Dream, south of Jervis Bay, Peter Lewis and his crew sat down to a lunch of smoked chicken, King Island double Brie cheese and a glass of chardonnay.

"We're at the back end of the fleet - we always expected to be - but not necessarily right at the back. We're a cruising boat; we do it for comfort rather than speed," Lewis said.

There have been no retirements in the race.

By Bruce Montgomery, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team