VENGEANCE: Wild Oats XI snatches a sensational victory in the final throes of an epic 2018 Sydney to Hobart

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Wild Oats XI has won the 2018 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in a thrilling finale that saw her take the lead in the last leg of the race as all four of the top contenders approached the finish line together.

With around 30 miles to go, the Oatley family boat skippered by Mark Richards took the lead just before dawn as the boats turned into the Derwent River for the final run in to Hobart.

Supermaxis Black Jack, Comanche, and InfoTrack turned towards Hobart all within miles of each other after the overnight run down the east coast of Tasmania, some 600 miles of sailing from Sydney.

Wild Oats XI had taken a more easterly course off the coast allowing her to pass Tasman Island and lead the group as they passed Port Arthur.

Although Comanche, the biggest of the supermaxis which tends to dominate in stronger winds, had led for significant portions of the race, the narrower Wild Oats XI — which is racing this year with a new set of sails – built an unassailable lead as she turned northwest towards Hobart. Black Jack, also a smaller-beam supermaxi, followed in a close second for a while but Wild Oats XI pulled away to secure a memorable win.

The win is a revenge for Richards after last year’s controversial finish in which Wild Oats XI crossed the line first but was stripped of the win thanks to a penalty imposed over a near-collision with Comanche on Sydney Harbour just minutes after the start.

This map shows the boat positions around 6am soon after Wild Oats XI took the lead. It shows how closely grouped the boats were as they passed Tasman Island.

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race Tracker

It’s a record-breaking ninth line honours win for Wild Oats XI.

In the following group, Philip Turner’s Alive was in fifth position for line honours while the all-female-crewed Wild Oats X was in a close sixth just after 7am.

Here’s a beautiful shot of the boats around 7am:

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