Wild Oats XI Makes History In 2014 Sydney Hobart Race
Published: Monday, 29 December 2014
Wild Oats XI has claimed a historic eighth line honours win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Completing the race in 2 days, 2 hours, 3 minutes and 26 seconds, Wild Oats XI finished 8 hours shy of her 2012 record-setting race.
Skipper and Grand Banks' CEO Mark Richards described the triumph as the crew’s most hard-fought yet. The Singapore Exchange-listed Grand Banks Yachts Limited congratulated Richards for leading Wild Oats XI to victory in the 70th edition of the iconic race.
Wild Oats XI managed to hold off stiff competition from Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s Comanche, the newly launched American entry.
“This was by far the most satisfying [line honours win], we had a real race,” says Richards. “It was long race, with a lot of competition from Comanche from the start. We worked hard from the beginning, and it paid off. It was a tough first night in the southerly as the boat sustained damage and we had to hang on in there as Comanche had the edge on us.”
Richards led the 10-year-old supermaxi, owned by Bob Oatley, to a record eighth win, beating the US Comanche team sailing on one of the most modern supermaxis in the world. Wild Oats XI gained an impressive lead throughout the second evening, at one point leading Comanche by 40 nautical miles.
Oatley watched his boat and crew surpass the record of line honours wins set by Morna/Kurrewa IV between 1946-1960.
“It’s a miracle, and we will be back next year,” says Oatley. “She is the best boat in the world. She’s proved that.”
In its first Rolex Sydney Hobart, Comanche finished 49 minutes after Wild Oats XI.
“On one hand we are disappointed, on the other, proud of what we put together,” says Comanche Skipper Ken Read. “Both boats sailed a flawless race.”
Ragamuffin 100, Rio 100 and Black Jack claimed 3rd, 4th and 5th line honours respectively.