Revenge! Records fall in Wild Oats’ sweetest win
WILD Oats XI has bolted away from her rivals in the final stretch of the Sydney to Hobart to claim a rousing ninth line honours win in the world famous ocean race.
Skippered by Mark Richards and a crew of 20, the yacht slipped away from her rivals in the final hours of the race to claim her fastest time win on the Derwent River.
The victory will help the crew wipe away the memory of winning last year but then losing the victory when handed a time penalty for an infringement soon after the start.
The experience of Richards and his team in the challenging Australian race showed through at the end as they romped home in a rare daylight finish surrounded by a large flotilla of cheering onlookers.
While her time was well outside record pace - one day, 19 hours, seven minutes, 21 seconds - the victory is one of the most memorable in race history.
Never before have four maxis - Wild Oats, Black Jack, Comanche and InfoTrack - raced in such close quarters.
Until the final hour or so the race was still there for the taking but it was Richards and his team who held heir nerve to claim the win.
Spanish round the world navigator Juan Villa was the man of the day after plotting Wild Oats' winning course.
The Spaniard opted for a more easterly course overnight which paid dividends this morning.
Richards revealed prior to the race a new sail had been built especially for this year's Sydney to Hobart.
The crew also worked overtime to prepare both themselves and the yacht for the race.
"The crew have been amazing," Richards said during the race.
Wild Oats continues to defy her age with her ninth victory proof she is one of the worlds leading supermaxis despite being 13 years old.
In her stellar career she has claimed nine fastest time victories, two overall wins and two race records.