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Wild Oats XI wins back-to-back titles

Wild Oats XI wins back-to-back titles

Wild Oats XI won back-to-back Sydney to Hobart yacht race titles when the maxiyacht reached the finish line late Thursday in two days, eight hours, 52 minutes and 33 seconds.
Wild Oats XI became just the sixth boat to record consecutive victories in the 62 years of the annual blue water classic, and the first since Astor in 1963-64.
Although it was well outside its own race record of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes, 10 seconds set last year, Wild Oats XI was rarely headed.
Skippered by Mark Richards, Wild Oats XI temporarily lost the lead on the first night to Maximus and ABN Amro, but both of those vessels were dismasted early Wednesday and retired.
Skandia's bid to win a second line honors crown title was handicapped by the loss of its front rudder on Wednesday.
It held onto second place until just a couple of hours before Wild Oats XI finished, when it was finally passed by Ichi Ban.
Richards said he had not thought Wild Oats XI was definitely in a winning position until around midday on Thursday.
"We had a bit of a tough night ... we ran out of breeze," Richards said. "So we actually stopped for four hours which was really frustrating for us, because the other boats pulled 40 miles out of us, so that was a bit unfortunate.
"But then we got back through the other side of the hole and got going again and we were OK from there."
Earlier in the race, eight sailors had to abandon a sinking vessel and three others were airlifted to hospital with injuries.
The crew of 1968 Sydney-Hobart race winner Koomooloo on Wednesday abandoned ship after it slipped off the back of a big wave and started sinking.
Three sailors on Maximus were seriously injured and had to be airlifted to hospital by helicopter.
Maximus and rival maxi ABN Amro, the Volvo Ocean Race winner, both retired after losing their masts in strong winds.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Geoff Lavis said despite the difficulties Wednesday, the situation was nothing like in 1998 when six people were killed and seven boats sunk when a violent storm hit the race.


Updated : 2020-12-04 14:02 GMT+08:00