Female crew on Wild Oats X claims bragging rights

There was plenty of good-natured banter on the Hobart dock as the men from the 100 footer Wild Oats XI collected to cheer in their smaller sister, the 66ft Wild Oats X.

Finishing the race at 2.53pm, the all-female crew on the smaller boat had a corrected time that currently places them sixth in IRC – but importantly over 3 hours ahead of the line honours winner.

“We had an agreement,” said crew member Katie Spithill. “Whichever boat wins gets the big boat next year.”

The snort of astonishment from WOXI skipper Mark Richards indicated that he didn't think that assertion would stand up in court.

The women were jubilant about their performance, however, saying that everything had gone very smoothly.

Stacey Jackson believes the crew she skippered should return to next year’s 75th edition in another bid to win the race overall.

“I reckon we have probably proven our worth this week and it would be a shame to not continue (as a crew),” Jackson said. “I imagine all the girls would come back. We’ve had an amazing time together. We’re really looking forward to doing some more sailing.”

Jackson said there was nothing in the race that surprised her or her crew: “Other than that it was such an easy race weather wise and you’ve got to be happy with that, every single time you get it.

“It’s hard to pick a bad bit in this race, to be honest … probably listening to the memorial to the guys who were lost 20 years ago (on Thursday during the 5pm radio check) was probably the sad part of this race. But (it was) nice we could acknowledge what happened and nice that the conditions were very different to that this year.”

She said that Wild Oats X’s only set back was losing an A2 spinnaker on the first night. It would have served them so well in the 7-10 knot southerly as they sailed up the Derwent River under glorious sun.

“That hindered us a little bit this afternoon,” Jackson said. “We came here to try to win it. We have done pretty damn well.”

The Wild Oats X skipper will be awarded the Jane ‘Jenny’ Tate Memorial Trophy for the first female skipper to complete the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at the official prize giving on 31 December in Hobart.

Vanessa Dudley, celebrating her 23rd Sydney Hobart, agreed that the conditions they experienced were her “easiest by far”. 

“We didn't park up at all,” she said. “The transition from the north-easter to the south-easter was seamless.

“I'm not sure I want to do another bad one now,” she added. 

She was full of praise for the yacht, saying it was “very elegant” and a delight to sail. 

With all but two of IRC 0 now in port, Wild Oats X sits in third place in her division and could move into second if Privateer, the American Cookson 50, loses even a few minutes coming up the Derwent.

 

 

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