Wild Oats takes line honours in Sydney-Gold Coast Race

Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards, claimed a good line honours victory in the 384 nautical mile Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race at15.27.47 hours today, in the time of 26 hours 27 minutes and 47 seconds, despite the carbon fibre hydrofoil wing which helps improve her speed snapping off in the early hours of this morning.

Although the 100ft super maxi finished over four hours outside the race record of 22 hours 3 minutes and 46 seconds she set in 2012, Richards and crew led from the start of the 29th running of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race, never headed or threatened throughout. Their nearest rival, Perpetual LOYAL is expected to finish shortly after 5.30pm this afternoon.

Wild Oats XI was the only yacht in the 55 boat not to get caught out by the big parking lot on Sydney Harbour after the start at 13.00 hours yesterday.

“We led from start to finish. It was a very tricky first few hours, but we had a plan and it paid off big time. The crew did a superb job. We were never really threatened, although Black Jack (Peter Harburg’s V70) came barrelling out towards us late last night, but then they went back towards the coast and that was that.” Richards said.   

On the carbon wing breaking off while surfing down waves at high speed, Richards said they would likely go back to the drawing board. “We’re not really sure what happened yet though – whether we hit something or not – we’ll have to take a look at the hull and see what’s what,” he said.

While Perpetual LOYAL, carrying Aussie cricket’s Michael Clarke aboard, is the next yacht due to cross the line, following her will be Black Jack at approximately 7.30pm and Matt Allen’s Carkeek 60, Ichi Ban shortly after 10.30pm. From there, yachts are set to trickle in throughout the night.

There have been no casualties from the race so far, although Phillip King reported at the 3.30pm sked that his Salona 44, Last Tango, had suffered forestay problems. He was hopeful that repairs could be effected and that they could continue racing.

Now the race is on to find the overall winner. As at 4.35pm, Tony Kirby’s Ker 46, Patrice, continues to lead the race, while Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46, Celestial has overtaken Darryl Hodgkinson’s Cookson 50, Victoire, for second place, relegating the latter to third, but there is still plenty of racing left.

The three yachts also hold down those same positions under ORCi, while Tasmanian entry, Helsal 3, the 30 year-old Adams 20 owned by Rob Fisher and Paul Mara, continues to lead the PHS class, which she has done since the start of the race. She’s the Culprit, owned by the culprits from Lake Macquarie and Newcastle, is second and the Robert Carr/Stephanie Cook/Kerry Burke owned Mortgage Choice Rumba is third. 

Behind Ichi Ban, the fleet is in a conga line hugging the coast from Lismore down to Port Macquarie. The last boat on line, John Blair’s Bear Necessity, is currently showing an ETA at the finish of 1.24am on Tuesday morning, but it is hoped she will finish late on Monday.

The CYCA’s proven yacht tacker system is allowing family, friends and yachting enthusiasts to follow the race and their favourite yachts for its duration. Each yacht isfitted with a Yellowbrick tracker that will obtain a position using the GPS satellite network, and then transmit the position back to Yellowbrick HQ using the Iridium satellite network.

Each yacht’s position is then visualised on the race yacht tracker map,or overlaid on Google Earth. In addition, the yacht tracker system also shows distance to finish line and progressive corrected time positions under the IRC, ORCi and PHS handicap divisions.

-Di Pearson, CYCA Media

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