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Wild Oats leads race fleet on 2nd day

Wild Oats leads race fleet on 2nd day

Sydney yacht Wild Oats X1 was on track for a third straight Sydney to Hobart title.
Wild Oats led the race fleet out of Sydney Harbor on Wednesday and held the lead 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 13 nautical miles.
Skandia, which won line honors in 2003, was third, followed by Ichi Ban and American yacht Rosebud.
Wild Oats was nearly halfway into the 628-nautical mile (1,163-kilometer, 723-mile) distance at midday Thursday (0100 GMT), nearly 24 hours into the race. Light southerly winds meant a race record was not likely.
Wild Oats holds the mark, 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.
Wild Oats is attempting to match the feat of Morna, which three races in a row from 1946-1948.
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."
Two boats in the 82-yacht fleet withdrew overnight due to rudder and sail problems.
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 : 2021-05-09 15:15 GMT+08:00