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Wild Oats leads race fleet into 2nd day

Wild Oats leads race fleet into 2nd day

Sydney yacht Wild Oats X1 is looking good for a third straight Sydney to Hobart title.
Wild Oats led the race fleet out of Sydney Harbor on Wednesday and held the lead early Thursday as the yachts headed into Bass Strait and south towards the island state of Tasmania. Wild Oats, skippered by Mark Richards, led British yacht City Index Leopard by about 12 nautical miles.
Skandia, which won line honors in 2003, was third, 22 nautical miles behind the leader, followed by Ichi Ban and American yacht Rosebud.
Leopard skipper Mike Slade was hopeful of catching Wild Oats.
"We're trying hard to pull back Wild Oats after her splendid downhill run," Slade said Tuesday. "We are trying to get some separation by going east looking for stronger wind, and at the moment we are getting it.
"We have the whole of Bass Strait ahead of us and these are conditions we like, so we must make the most of it."
Slade said that with the amount of ground the maxis covered in the first 10 hours of the race the race record was still a possibility even though a weather front has slowed them down.
Two boats in the 82-yacht fleet withdrew overnight due to rudder and sail problems.
Wild Oats is attempting to match the feat of Morna, which three races in a row from 1946-1948.
Wild Oats holds the record for the 628-nautical mile (1,163-kilometer, 723-mile) race, wiping 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, and the first since Astor in 1963-64.
The 2006 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 : 2021-06-13 04:56 GMT+08:00