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Wild Oats XI Does It Again in Sydney–Hobart Race

28th December 2013
Wild Oats XI Does It Again in Sydney–Hobart Race

#rshyr – Veteran owner Bob Oatley's Reichel Pugh 100 Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards, has taken her seventh line honours win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, with an evening finish at Hobart at 19.07.27 hrs AEDT writes W M Nixon.

Up-dating our report from last night's midnight posting of Sailing on Saturday, the slim hulled fleet leader continued to build on her light airs lead over Anthony Bell's much beamier hundred footer Perpetual LOYAL, the former Rambler 100. The gap between the two became even greater when Wild Oats began to feel the benefits of a building nor'easter the further south she got, while Perpetual was virtually becalmed.

Thus the gap expanded to more than fifty miles. But then as Perpetual began to feel the breeze, she showed her potential and was zooming down the Tasmanian coast at speeds of up to 28.2 knots, closing the gap to 25 miles. However, by this time Wild Oats was shaping her way into the Derwent estuary and the often tricky final virtually inland stages to the finish. She was comfortably across the line in mid-evening in an easing breeze which had her speed down to 9-11 knots, though at one stage while in Storm Bay the power in the new nor'easter had her down to storm jib and heavily reefed main.

But as darkness closes in, the wind has gone in the Derwent, and while Perpetual LOYAL has only 18 miles to the finish, her current speed of 3 knots could make it a long and frustrating night, and though she has a lower rating than Wild Oats, it looks unlikely she'll beat her on handicap. But for now Wild Oats XI is the undisputed 2013 holder of the prestigious Illingworth Cup for first to finish, named in honours of the noted English offshore racing skipper Captain John Illingworth who, in 1945, suggested that a proposed post-Christmas cruise-in-company from Sydney to Hobart should be sailed as a race instead. He won it too, and the rest is history.

Now with the Tasmanian weather into a more volatile state, all sorts of possibilities arise for the new holder of the Tattersall's Cup for the overall winner under IRC. Wild Oats did the double in 2012, but under current placings and speed of those still racing at 1000 hrs Irish time, she lies at 69th overall, while the leader is Bruce Taylor's Reichel Pugh 40 Chutzpah.

Second place is currently held by the Farr 43 Wild Rose owned by Roger Hickman, which back in the day was the original Wild Oats, so it would make for a nice double if she could pick up that extra place on handicap.

Of boats of Irish interest, the First 40 Breakthrough, skippered by Barry Hurley of the Royal Irish YC, was at one stage third on handicap overall, but has currently slipped to 31st overall, which shows just how rapidly things can change. My apologies, by the way, to the two Irish owners of First 40s, one in Baltimore and the other based on the Algarve, for saying that we don't have any of these fine boats in the Irish fleet – as you'll gather, I've been very quickly put right on that one.

The Clipper 70 Derry-Londonderry-Doire skippered by Sean McCarter of Lough Swilly lies 42nd overall on IRC, but is first of the 12-strong Clipper fleet, so keep an eye on that, and keep fingers crossed too. Ich Ban with Gordon Maguire on the helm was 36th OA, but might get lucky in the final stages. It may be complex in the extreme, with the time lapse adding o the confusion, but this is turning out to be one specially fascinating Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.

Published in Sydney to Hobart Team

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The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual offshore yacht racing event with an increasingly international exposure attracting super maxi yachts and entries from around tne world. It is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - FAQs

The number of Sydney Hobart Yacht Races held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1945 is 75

6,257 completed the Sydney Hobart Yacht race, 1036 retired or were disqualified)

About 60,061 sailors have competed in the Sydney Hobart Race between 1945 and 2019

Largest fleets: 371 starters in the 50th race in 1994 (309 finished); 154 starters in 1987 (146 finished); 179 starters in 1985 (145 finished); 151 starters in 1984 (46 finished); 173 started in 1983 (128 finished); 159 started in 1981 (143 finished); 147 started in 1979 (142 finished); 157 started in 2019 (154 finished)

116 in 2004 (59 finished); 117 in 2014 (103 finished); 157 in 2019 (154 finished)

Nine starters in the inaugural Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1945

In 2015 and 2017 there were 27, including the 12 Clipper yachts (11 in 2017). In the record entry of 371 yachts in the 50th in 1994, there were 24 internationals

Rani, Captain John Illingworth RN (UK). Design: Barber 35’ cutter. Line and handicap winner

157 starters, 154 finishers (3 retirements)

IRC Overall: Ichi Ban, a TP52 owned by Matt Allen, NSW. Last year’s line honours winner: Comanche, Verdier Yacht Design and VPLP (FRA) owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, in 1 day 18 hours, 30 minutes, 24 seconds. Just 1hour 58min 32secs separated the five super maxis at the finish 

1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, set in 2017 by LDV Comanche after Wild Oats XI was penalised one hour in port/starboard incident for a finish time of 1d 9h 48m 50s

The oldest ever sailor was Syd Fischer (88 years, 2015).

As a baby, Raud O'Brien did his first of some six Sydney Hobarts on his parent's Wraith of Odin (sic). As a veteran at three, Raud broke his arm when he fell off the companionway steps whilst feeding biscuits to the crew on watch Sophie Tasker sailed the 1978 race as a four-year-old on her father’s yacht Siska, which was not an official starter due to not meeting requirements of the CYCA. Sophie raced to Hobart in 1979, 1982 and 1983.

Quite a number of teenage boys and girls have sailed with their fathers and mothers, including Tasmanian Ken Gourlay’s 14-year-old son who sailed on Kismet in 1957. A 12-year-old boy, Travis Foley, sailed in the fatal 1998 race aboard Aspect Computing, which won PHS overall.

In 1978, the Brooker family sailed aboard their yacht Touchwood – parents Doug and Val and their children, Peter (13), Jacqueline (10), Kathryne (8) and Donald (6). Since 1999, the CYCA has set an age limit of 18 for competitors

Jane (‘Jenny’) Tate, from Hobart, sailed with her husband Horrie aboard Active in the 1946 Race, as did Dagmar O’Brien with her husband, Dr Brian (‘Mick’) O’Brien aboard Connella. Unfortunately, Connella was forced to retire in Bass Strait, but Active made it to the finish. The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is presented each year to the first female skipper to finish the race

In 2019, Bill Barry-Cotter brought Katwinchar, built in 1904, back to the start line. She had competed with a previous owner in 1951. It is believed she is the oldest yacht to compete. According to CYCA life member and historian Alan Campbell, more than 31 yachts built before 1938 have competed in the race, including line honours winners Morna/Kurrewa IV (the same boat, renamed) and Astor, which were built in the 1920s.

Bruce Farr/Farr Yacht Design (NZL/USA) – can claim 20 overall wins from 1976 (with Piccolo) up to and including 2015 (with Balance)

Screw Loose (1979) – LOA 9.2m (30ft); Zeus II (1981) LOA 9.2m

TKlinger, NSW (1978) – LOA 8.23m (27ft)

Wild Oats XI (2012) – LOA 30.48m (100ft). Wild Oats XI had previously held the record in 2005 when she was 30m (98ft)

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