Wild Oats XI sets new record at Sydney to Hobart race

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Clipper Venture 10 racing yacht Clipper Ventures 10 crew sailing past Sydney Heads on their way to Hobart. Clipper Venture 10 racing yacht
Wild Rose racing yacht You can’t keep a good Wild Oats down. The original Wild Oats, now Wild Rose, took out handicap honours for a second time. Wild Rose racing yacht
Wild Oats at Sydney to Hobart race Wild Oats at Sydney to Hobart race

Wild Oats XI has set a new racing record in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race.

Wild Oats XI sets new record at Sydney to Hobart race
The mighty Wild Oats XI yacht racing to a record eighth Sydney Hobart line honours.

More than 20 years after first winning the race, Wild Rose claimed handicap victory in the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, with a slightly newer Bob Oatley yacht, Wild Oats XI, taking line honours.

Wild Rose was the first of the Wild Oats yachts built for avid sailor Oatley, with current owner Roger Hickman taking over in 1991 and soon tasting success, winning the 49th Sydney Hobart in 1993 on the slippery 43-footer.

Oatley’s historic run of success in the gruelling 628nm race continued in 2014 however, with his seemingly unbeatable Wild Oats XI romping to a record-breaking eighth line honours win, ahead of Jim Clarke’s brand-new Comanche.

Wild Oats XI was eight hours shy of her own 2012 race record, but still held off Comanche by 49 minutes, to finish in 2 days 2 hours 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

Oatley looked on as his 100ft maxi eclipsed the record for line honour wins set by Morna/Kurrewa IV between 1946 and 1960.

"It’s a miracle...and we will be back next year, yes, we’ll definitely be back next year," Oatley said. "She is the best boat in the world; she’s proved that."

For winning skipper Mark Richards it was a moment to savour.

"It was one of those challenges you dream about," said Richards.

"It was a hard race, the competition the toughest we’ve had; the newest, latest technology versus our boat which is 10 years-old.

"We always thought Comanche would be quicker, so we tried to minimise the losses, constantly working out how we could attack this thing and working an angle to our advantage.

"We would never have dreamt about an eighth Rolex Sydney Hobart win 10 years ago," he said.

Following the retirement of Perpetual Loyal on the first evening, the battle for line honours became a two-horse race. When Comanche arrived in Hobart, the third boat on the water, Rio 100 (USA), was still 100nm behind.

Some 29 hours later, Oatley’s original Wild Oats (now Wild Rose) arrived to set a corrected time that ensured overall victory and the coveted Tattersall’s Cup.

Look for Kevin Green’s exclusive on-deck insight into the 2014 Sydney Hobart aboard Clipper Ventures 10 soon.


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