Wild Oats XI takes back to back line honours

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 28 Dec 2006 20:06:00
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The Australian maxi Wild Oats XI has taken back-to-back line honours wins in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the first time this has happened since 1964 and only the sixth time in the event’s 62 year history.

The Australian maxi Wild Oats XI has taken back-to-back line honours wins in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the first time this has happened since 1964 and only the sixth time in the event’s 62 year history.

Wild Oats XI, owned by Bob Oatley and skippered by Mark Richards, crossed the finish line of the 628 nautical mile race at Hobart’s Castray Esplanade at 9:52pm tonight for an elapsed time of 2 days, 8 hours, 52 minutes and 33 seconds

This is 14 hours and 10 minutes outside the record she set last year when she took the Rolex Sydney Hobart race treble – line honours, the race record and the winner of the Tattersalls Cup (overall handicap winner).

Wild Oats XI finished  about forty miles ahead of the Volvo 70 Ichi Ban, which was a little over three miles ahead of Grant Wharington’s Skandia.

The last back-to-back winner of the race was Astor in 1963/64, which also won in 1961. Other boats to have achieved the rare feat are Morna (1946-48), Margaret Rintoul (1950/51), Kurrewa IV (1956/57) and Solo (1958/59).

It was a race of attrition in which Wild Oats XI’s challengers fell away. She led the fleet out of Sydney Heads on Boxing Day into the teeth of headwinds that persisted throughout the race down the NSW coast, across Bass Strait and down the Tasmanian east coast.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning off Batemans Bay, the Kiwis on Maximus made their move on Wild Oats XI but not long after both Maximus and Mike Sanderson’s ABN AMRO ONE, winner of this year’s Volvo Ocean Race, were dismasted as the south-westerly built above 30 knots and the seas steepened.

Later that day, Skandia saw her canard daggerboard snapped from the boat and drift away. At that stage Skandia was about five miles behind Wild Oats XI. She then gradually fell back and as she did so, Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban closed on her stern.  Ichi Ban edged ahead of Skandia around 7 o'clock this evening as the two yachts aproached Tasman Island.

It was a matter of Grant Wharington’s past catching up with him. Ichi Ban is the former Volvo 70 Brunel that Wharington campaigned in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race around the world race.

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