by Rob Mundle
Bob Oatley’s supermaxi Wild Oats XI sets multiple records following its historic treble at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012
Reefed down and heading south; Wild Oats XI leads the fleet to Hobart - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Skippered by Mark Richards, and with 18 world-class crew, the seven-year-old Wild Oats XI is now the most successful yacht in the 68-year history of the 628 nautical mile classic.
This was left beyond doubt today when Bob Oatley accepted the Tattersall’s Cup, the superbly ornate silver trophy which recognises the race’s outright winner on handicap. Wild Oats XI started a hot favourite for line honours this year, so that result was no surprise; however, to be recognized as the best performing yacht on handicap among the entire fleet of 75 yachts is the pinnacle of achievement.
Wild Oats XI’s impressive list of achievements now includes:
• First yacht to win line, handicap and race record honours twice
• First yacht to win line and handicap honours twice
• First yacht to break her own race record (she lowered her 2005 mark by 17 minutes to one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, and 12 seconds
• A record six line honours in eight starts
• A record four consecutive line honours
• A record run from the start line to the first turning mark on Sydney Harbour
Bob Oatley has already declared the yacht will be back for next year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race so she can try to match the record seven line honours won by Morna (later renamed Kurrewa IV) over a 14-year period between the second Hobart race in 1946 and 1960.
Bob Oatley said that it was an exceptional effort by his crew, a perfect preparation for the race, modifications made to the hull and keel, and the inclusion of a huge Code Zero headsail in the yacht’s sail inventory, which brought this year’s grand result in the big race.
Wild Oats XI passes the seaward mark - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Richards added: ‘We have a great bunch of people on board and we’re all good mates. Many have been with the boat since our first Hobart in 2005. It’s like we are one big happy family.’
When Wild Oats XI returns to her base at Woolwich Dock in Sydney next week she will be taken from the water, unrigged, checked thoroughly from bow to stern, and then prepared for the Audi Sydney Gold Coast race and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August before lining up for Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2013.
Bob Oatley and his son, Sandy, hinted that further modifications were already being considered in a bid to make Wild Oats XI even faster.