A record-equalling seven first home wins has been set by Bob Oatley’s 100-foot Wild Oats in the annual Sydney to Hobart Race but mixed conditions along the 628-mile route south meant that an elapsed time of 2d 6hr 7min 27sec was over 11 hours outside the record set by Oatley’s skipper Mark Richards last year.
The yacht was home first in 2005, when, as a 98-footer, it took line honours, set the record and won on handicap. The only other yacht to be first home seven times was Morna in 1946 which was renamed Kurrewa IV and took its last win in 1960.
Oats had been challenged in the early stages of the race, which started on Boxing Day, by Anthony Bell’s rival 100-footer Perpetual Loyal, but, when the wind strength softened, Oats overhauled Loyal with veteran campaigner Syd Fischer’s 100-foot Ragamuffin close by in third.
Oatley must now wait to see if, in the slower conditions mid-race, one of the mid-sized or even smaller boats, can lift the Tattersall trophy for the best corrected time on handicap.
Sydney plastic surgeon Darryl Hodgkinson's 50-foot Cookson/Farr design yacht Victoire is the overall winner of the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
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