Australian supermaxi Wild Oats XI has won the 2014 Sydney to Hobart yacht race, claiming line honours for an eighth time – the only yacht to ever do so in the race’s 70 year history.
The yacht, owned by billionaire sailing enthusiast Robert Oatley, finished the course in two days, one hour and 50 minutes, ahead of US contender Comanche which crossed the line 50 minutes later.
Despite being well outside the race record set by the supermaxi in 2012, 86-year-old Oatley said it was “the sweetest victory by far”.
“I don’t think I could possibly beat that.” he said.
“[It’s] such a lottery. It is very hard to win because of the changing conditions and you never know what’s going to happen behind you.
“And we will be back next year, yes, we’ll definitely be back next year… She is the best boat in the world; she’s proved that.”
The two supermaxis had gone head-to-head for the win since leaving Sydney Heads on Boxing Day. While Comanche took the leave in early on day 1, softer wind conditions gave Wild Oats the edge to overtake the wide-bodied American yacht yesterday afternoon.
Comanche’s owner, Jim Clark, said Wild Oats and skipper Mark Richards had sailed an amazing race.
“[We’re] disappointed we got stuck in that high pressure system, but they managed to sneak through it. And you’ve got to give them credit, that’s the nature of that boat, they’ve got the balance.”
Third-placed Rio100 is still leading the rest of the fleet down Tasmania’s east coast, about 100 nautical miles behind.
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