Wild Oats XI’s work is far from done according to owner Bob Oatley, who says the supermaxi will attempt to break the record for line honours wins.
Wild Oats XI owner Bob Oatley has vowed his legendary supermaxi will be back for a crack at owning the Sydney to Hobart line honours record alone.
Oatley’s boat claimed a record-equalling seventh win on Saturday evening, crossing the finishing line in two days, six hours, seven minutes and 27 seconds.
Clocking speeds of 35 knots as it rocketed down the Tasmanian coast, Oats left early challengers Perpetual LOYAL and Ragamuffin in its wake as it powered home.
In doing so, skipper Mark Richards and a crew boasting a combined 250 Sydney to Hobart races between them, equalled the seven line honours wins by Morna/Kurrewa IV in the 1940-50s.
“We’ve done it in shorter time than they did it,” winemaking billionaire Oatley said.
“We’ll go on and do more now I hope.”
Declaring win number seven the best yet, and the possibility of an eighth “better still”, Oatley paid tribute to skipper Richards.
Asked what he had to say to Richards, he answered: “Hallelujah.
“It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
Richards described the win as one of his crew’s proudest.
“That’s a big deal,” he said.
“It’s the most famous yacht in Australian history I’d say.”
Thousands lined Constitution Dock to watch Wild Oats cross the finish line at 7.07pm (AEDT).
Anthony Bell’s LOYAL finished 3hr 12min behind in second place.
After a night of light conditions had all but ended LOYAL’s chances, the big boats rode winds of up to 40 knots on Saturday afternoon.
But Bell’s boat was left behind by the clinical Oats crew, who have been beaten just twice in the Boxing Day race, opening a gap of close to 60nm.
“The boat was going like a train … it was absolutely flying,” Richards said.
“The boat’s never gone so fast in its life.”
Wild Oats had already confirmed her status as the iconic race’s best ever by topping her own race record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds in 2012.
An eighth line honours win would bolster her status as one of the world’s best ocean racers.
Victorian boat Chutzpah had taken the overall lead on handicap on Saturday night but changing weather conditions were still expected to affect the standings.
The back of the fleet was bracing for a pummelling when forecast southwesterly gale force winds hit Bass Strait and Storm Bay on Saturday night.
The Bureau of Meteorology was predicting winds of up to 40 knots and seas up to four metres.
A fourth boat had retired by Saturday afternoon, NSW 12-metre Canute quitting with a rudder bearing problem.