The super-maxi Wild Oats XI, one of the world’s fastest and technically advanced ocean racing yachts, has been entered for Tasmania’s iconic harbour race, the spectacular King of the Derwent on Hobart’s River Derwent.
This will be the first time the five-time Sydney Hobart Race line honours winner and race record holder has contested the King of the Derwent, conducted by the Derwent Sailing Squadron on 2nd January each year.
The Lord Mayor Hobart, Alderman Damon Thomas, officially launched the 2012 Jeanneau King of the Derwent at the DSS today, describing it as an event unique in Australian yachting and an icon of Tasmanian summer sporting events.
'We are delighted that owner Bob Oatley and skipper Mark Richards have elected to stay on in Hobart after the end of the Rolex Sydney Hobart so that Tasmanians and visitors can see the champion super-maxi yacht close-up, and then see her racing in the Jeanneau King of the Derwent,' the Lord Mayor said.
In confirming Wild Oats XI entry Oatley said: 'In recent years we have had to do a rapid turnaround after the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race and head home so we could contest other events, but this year we want to stay for the King of the Derwent and really enjoy ourselves.'
'I’ve been coming to Hobart because of the big race for many years, and every time the yacht arrives we receive a warm welcome like no other in the world. So, this year we want to be able to give something back and let local people enjoy watching Wild Oats XI contest the King of the Derwent' he added.
Since its inception in 1978, the King of the Derwent has attracted the largest fleet of keelboats racing in one event on the broad expanse of the river, with visiting boats that have competed in the ocean races from Sydney, Melbourne and Launceston mixing around the buoys with local yachts.
The entry of Wild Oats XI is expected to boost entries from other big boats contesting the Rolex Sydney Hobart, including Investec, another 100-footer which took line honours in the 2011 KOD.
The King of the Derwent is the final race in the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s three race Sovereign and Salamanca Series and the final race in the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s Tasports Combined Launceston to Hobart/King of the Derwent Series.