Wild Oats in historic Sydney-Hobart triple crown
HOBART, Australia (AFP) –
Supermaxi Wild Oats XI on Saturday completed a historic Sydney to Hobart triple crown with organisers declaring it the overall handicap winner to go with its line honours and record time.
Its main competition in the handicap standings, which takes into account the dimensions of each boat in the 76-strong fleet, along with age and other factors, was expected to be Jazz and Calm.
But winds turned against them and they failed to finish fast enough.
“@WildOatsXI is officially declared the overall handicap winner. First team in history to claim a treble twice! Congrats,” said the official Twitter site of the prestigious 628-nautical-mile bluewater classic.
In claiming all three milestones, Wild Oats XI emulated the feat it achieved in 2005 and becomes the only yacht ever to secure two trebles.
The only other boat to boast the treble is British yacht Rani, but her record was set in the first race in 1945.
Skipper Mark Richards said being the overall winner, and in doing so getting his hands on the Tattersall’s Cup, was the ultimate achievement.
“There’s only a couple of boats competing for line honours, but the Tattersall’s Cup, it’s nearly the whole fleet, it’s a big deal,” he said.
Wild Oats XI smashed its own record time by nearly 17 minutes in taking line honours Friday ahead of Ragamuffin-Loyal.
The 100-footer completed the gruelling race, which takes crews across the notorious Bass Strait, in one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds for its sixth victory.
It also won every year from 2005 to 2008 and in 2010.
Richards is now setting his sights on seven wins, a feat only achieved by one other yacht — Morna, later re-named Kurrewa IV.
“You get close to something like that and it becomes a real goal for us,” he said.
“I’m sure there’ll be bigger and better boats out next year, so we’ll just see what happens.”