Wild Oats XI scores the triple

Second Rolex Sydney Hobart clean sweep for Bob Oatley's maxi

Saturday December 29th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australia

Wild Oats XI has been officially confirmed the overall winner of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The win cements Wild Oats XI, owner Bob Oatley and skipper Mark Richards’ place in history as the first to claim the treble; line honours, first overall and the race record - twice.

Richards steered the 30m maxi yacht to the treble in 2005, but it came in easier style than this time around, when the record was on, then off and on again in the closing stages. He said today that laying his hands on the Tattersall’s Cup (awarded to the overall winning yacht) was the ultimate achievement.

“There’s only a couple of boats competing for line honours, but the Tattersall’s Cup – it’s nearly the whole fleet - it’s a big deal,” he said.

The yacht shaved 16 minutes and 58 seconds off her 2005 record when she crossed the finish line on Friday 28 December at 07:23:12 AEDT.

Only one other yacht has ever won the trifecta; Captain John Illingworth’s Rani in the inaugural race in 1945.

This is Wild Oats XI’ sixth line honours victory. Only one other yacht Morna, later re-named Kurrewa IV, has done better. She won line honours seven times, but never won the race outright.

Wild Oats XI’s impressive list of achievements now includes:

- First yacht to win line, handicap and race record honours twice
- First yacht to win line and handicap honours twice
- First yacht to break her own race record (she lowered her 2005 mark by 17 minutes to one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, and 12 seconds
- A record six line honours in eight starts
- A record four consecutive line honours
- A record run from the start line to the first turning mark on Sydney Harbour

Richards is now setting his sights on equaling the record of seven wins. “You get close to something like that and it becomes a real goal for us,” he said. “I’m sure there’ll be bigger and better boats out next year, so we’ll just see what happens.”

Bob Oatley has already declared the yacht will be back for next year’s race. He said that it was an exceptional effort by his crew, a perfect preparation for the race, modifications made to the hull and keel, and the inclusion of a huge Code Zero headsail in the yacht’s sail inventory, which brought this year’s grand result in the big race.

Richards added: ‘We have a great bunch of people on board and we’re all good mates. Many have been with the boat since our first Hobart in 2005. It’s like we are one big happy family.’

When Wild Oats XI returns to her base at Woolwich Dock in Sydney next week she will be taken from the water, unrigged, checked thoroughly from bow to stern, and then prepared for the Audi Sydney Gold Coast race and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August before lining up for Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2013.

Bob Oatley and his son, Sandy, hinted that further modifications were already being considered in a bid to make Wild Oats XI even faster.

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