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Wild Oats after 3rd straight win in Sydney to Hobart race

Wild Oats after 3rd straight win in Sydney to Hobart race

Wild Oats X1 will attempt to do what no other yacht has done since 1948 _ win the Sydney to Hobart race three years in a row.
About 80 yachts from around Australia and overseas set sail Wednesday from Sydney harbor on a 628-nautical mile (1,163-kilometer, 723-mile) trip down the southeast coast of Australia and across Bass Strait to the island state of Tasmania.
Wild Oats wiped more than an hour off the previous record to win the race in 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds for the first time in 2005. Nokia set the previous mark in 1999 of 1 day, 19:48:02.
Last year, Wild Oats wasn't quite a quick due to unfavorable conditions, finishing in 2 days, 8:52:22. That made the super maxi just the sixth boat to record consecutive victories in the annual bluewater classic, and the first since Astor in 1963-64.
This year, Wild Oats will try do duplicate the three-in-a-row record of Moran, which won in 1946-47-48.
With the withdrawal of New Zealand boat Maximus with a damaged keel, Wild Oats became the favorite to reach Constitution Dock first in the Tasmanian state capital of Hobart.
New British maxi City Index Leopard could be a challenger, especially in strong headwinds, while Victorian state super maxi Skandia, the 2003 line honors winner, should also be up near the head of the fleet.
American entry Rosebud emerged as a likely contender after taking handicap honors in both the Big Boat Challenge and Rolex Trophy series, two of the major leadup events.
The international contingent also includes five other yachts from Britain, plus Mexico's first Hobart race entry, Iataia, which spent the past six months crossing the Pacific Ocean to make the start.
The 40-foot Iataia has a crew of nine Mexicans. One lives in Brisbane, and none of the crew has ever attempted a race to Hobart.
"We know that we have a disadvantage with that, but we would like to try for all Mexicans," owner Marcos Rodriguez said.
"When we thought about maybe someone local, our main concern was the language, eight speaking Spanish and one speaking English.
Rodriguez and his skipper Marc Rosenfeld said they received great support from the local sailing community.
"We've been getting the knowledge in the bar and they tell us what to do and what not to do," Rosenfeld joked.
Rodriguez said the boat's name didn't translate into English because it was a combination of two letters from the names of each of his two daughters and his ex-wife.
Englishman Mike Slade, owner of City Index Leopard, said he would like to arrive in Hobart first and deny his Wild Oats counterpart, Bob Oatley, a record-equaling win.
"You've got to sail the right course, you've got to get there and you've got to cross the line first _ the most important of those is getting there in one piece," Slade said.
Weather forecasts Tuesday suggested a race record was not likely due to unfavorable wind conditions. The Bureau of Meteorology said there will be northerly breezes on the first and third days, but light southerlies on the second day that could slow the fleet.
Sydney sailor John Walker, 85, will be the oldest skipper to contest the race, while Victorian 80-year-old Lou Abrahams, a two-time overall winner, will race a record-equaling 44th Sydney to Hobart.
Last year's race was hit by bad weather _ eight sailors had to abandon a sinking vessel and three others were airlifted to hospital with injuries. In 1998, six sailors were killed and seven boats sunk when a violent storm hit the race.


Updated : 2021-04-17 22:24 GMT+08:00