[QODLink]
Sport

Wild Oats eyes seventh Sydney to Hobart win

Wild Oats XI edges past Perpetual Loyal in Sydney to Hobart race duel for line honours.

Last updated: 27 Dec 2013 09:37
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Wild Oats Xl, right, was first out the harbour as it sailed past Beau Geste at the start of the annual race [AFP]

Defending champion Wild Oats XI has snatched the lead over fellow super maxi Perpetual Loyal, as the two yachts duelled for line honours in the Sydney to Hobart race.

Perpetual Loyal led by 10 nautical miles before Wild Oats XI made its move on Friday.

With the yachts at the halfway point of the 628-nautical-mile trip to Hobart, the capital of the island state of Tasmania, Wild Oats XI had taken a lead of five nautical miles.

Another super maxi, Ragamuffin 100, was nine nautical miles behind in third.

Based on current weather forecasts of very light winds at the finish, the winner was not expected to reach Hobart until early on Sunday, well off Wild Oat XI's race record set last year of 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds.

Perpetual Loyal had earlier flown a protest flag shortly after the start, but Perpetual Loyal skipper Anthony Bell said they had decided not to make it official.

Race record

"We've had a meeting and decided not to proceed with the protest," Bell said.

"At first we thought we had been fouled (by Wild Oats XI), but in a sense we had not."

There were 94 starters in this year's race, including 22 from outside Australia.

The overseas contingent included 12 boats from the Clipper Round the World race, which for the first time is including the Sydney to Hobart as the sixth race of its 16-race schedule.

There were two early withdrawals from the back of the fleet due to equipment failures.

Wild Oats XI set the race record of 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds last year when it also won handicap honours.

Skippered by Mark Richards, Wild Oats XI is owned by wine mogul Bob Oatley, who is heading up the Australian challenge for the next America's Cup and is the Challenger of Record through his Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

Race officials warned the Sydney to Hobart fleet to expect gale-force winds and waves of up to 12 metres on Saturday.

334

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
Great white activity off famous Bondi Beach had beach-goers scrambling out of the water, but experts say don't panic.
At least 25,000 displaced people have gathered on the northern border, with more on the way trying to escape attacks.
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.