Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Updated: December 27, 10:55 PM ET
Wild Oats XI wins Sydney-Hobart race for 6th time
HOBART, Australia -- Wild Oats XI won the Sydney to Hobart yacht race for the sixth time, breaking its own record time.
The super maxi skippered by Mark Richards crossed the finish line at Constitution Dock in Hobart at 7:23 a.m. Friday. The boat left Sydney on Wednesday and finished in 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds. That was 17 minutes faster than the mark set by Wild Oats XI in 2005 for the 723-mile race.
"It was close, only just," Richards said, referring to the race record. "2005 was a great year, but this year was even better. It was a very tricky night, the breeze died on us. But we made a lot of sail changes and the guys did a great job."
Another super maxi, Ragamuffin Loyal, which won last year's race as Investec Loyal, finished second, 4½ hours behind. Ragamuffin Loyal faces a time penalty for crossing the start line early, but it was unlikely to affect its placing. The next yacht due in, fellow maxi Lahana, had about nine hours left.
Wild Oats XI won consecutive line honors from 2005 to 2008 and in 2010. Last year, it finished second to Investec Loyal by three minutes in one of the closest finishes in the race first held in 1945.
Two boats quit Thursday, the first withdrawals of the race, leaving 74 from the fleet competing.
Living Doll, last year's handicap runner-up, pulled out with a broken rudder and was sailing to the port of Eden in southern New South Wales state. Primitive Cool quit with a damaged mainsail and also was heading to Eden.