With the line honors victory and a new race record secured the Reichel Pugh designed 100ft Maxi looks set to repeat its 2005 performance by winning overall IRC corrected time as well.
Finishing the 68th edition of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in 1 day, 18 hours, 23mins and 12 seconds has secured Wild Oats XI a place in the history books as only the second boat in the history of the race to break its own record.
At 5am it was looking like the chance of breaking the record had slipped away. Expecting to finish at 8:30am, 40 minutes outside of the 2005 record, the crew found the breeze they needed in the fickle Derwent River “We just kept chipping away.” said Skipper Mark Richards “You expect it to be light in the Derwent and it did get lighter towards the end. This is a very testing event and the Derwent is very, very, testing. It’s always a tough race.”
Owner of Wild Oats XI Bob Oatley looked on from his spectator’s boat as the maxi yacht made its final miles to the finish line. When an elated Oatley was asked when he will stop entering the 628 nautical mile race he firmly said “Never…. I hope” and that he will continue racing on the same boat. “You can’t do better than this boat it’s not possible in the world….. I wouldn’t swap it with anyone”.
“This boat is a great machine and we’re very proud of it. Getting the record is a big thing and it’s very satisfying.”Said Richards to the media “It’s fantastic. It’s a great result for the whole team so we are absolutely stoked.”
McConaghy Boats set its own record back in 2005 constructing the carbonmex boat in less than ten months so that it could compete in the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart when it won the “triple crown” taking line honours, the race record, and overall IRC handicap honours.
Congratulations to Bob and the Oatley family, Mark Richards and all the crew on board Wild Oats XI.