City Index Leopard, the British 98 foot super maxi yacht owned by Mike Slade was the second boat to finish the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this morning. Crossing the finish line at 1051 (local), City Index Leopard was just 27 minutes behind first placed, line honours winner Wild Oats XI.
This year’s race took place in relatively light winds and was predominantly sailed downwind, conditions suiting the lighter yacht Wild Oats XI, who has now taken line honours three years in a row.
Wild Oats XI, the Australian 98 foot rival to City Index Leopard led from the start in the light wind conditions. After extending a 15 mile lead over City Index Leopard during the first night to 23 miles by the time they reached Tasman Island, off the eastern corner of Tasmania, City Index Leopard then clawed the margin back to just three miles by the finish. City Index Leopard finished the race in one day, 21 hours, 51 minutes and 55 seconds.
Mike Slade, skipper of City Index Leopard commented: 'We knew from the minute we started in Sydney that this year’s race would not bring ideal conditions for City Index Leopard, and that they would suit Wild Oats XI beautifully.
It’s just like race horses that are good on the flat; some prefer soft ground, some are better on hard ground. We’re better in the upwind breezier conditions, as we had in the Rolex Fastnet Race back in the UK earlier this year, and Wild Oats XI prefers the lighter conditions which we’ve seen for this event.'
'My congratulations go to Bob Oatley and Wild Oats XI on their third Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race win. Three wins in a row is very commendable, especially as there is so much new technology on the block these days.
Each year newer boats come along, so for the same boat to keep doing consistently well in today’s climate is very impressive. It’s a long trip for us to come down to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race but we love coming here to compete and hope to come back again one day, it’s a great race.'
The race, which started in Sydney Harbour at 1300 (local time) on Wednesday 26th December, took the 81 boat fleet 628 nautical miles south down the coast of Australia and up the Derwent River into Hobart, Tasmania. The 63rd edition of the race saw six UK entries. The remainder of the fleet are expected to finish within the next five days.