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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Next wave to deliver encore to nail biting thriller

by Rupert Guinness 27 Dec 2018 20:04 PST 28 December 2018

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has provided more than an unprecedented line honours battle that met a thrilling climax on Friday.

As the four super maxis still in the race from five that entered this year's 74th edition of the the Sydney Hobart came to terms with today's results which saw Wild Oats XI win line honours from Black Jack, Comanche and InfoTrack, the battle for overall victory remained wide open.

As the 628 nautical mile race entered its third day, the race between the smaller boats was proving to be as scintillating for sailing fans.

At 1.45pm on Friday, defending Tattersall Cup champion, the TP52 Ichi Ban owned and skippered by Matt Allen, was leading overall after a thrilling snakes and ladders slide down to 32nd and up again.

With 67nm to go and 13nm south-east of Maria Island, Ichi Ban led the Tasmanian Reichel-Pugh 66 Alive that is owned by Phillip Turner and the NSW Farr 55 Hollywood Boulevard, owned and skippered by Ray Roberts. Fourth was the US entrant, Privateer, a Ronald O'Hanley owned canting Cookson 50 that is registered with the New York Yacht Club.

Meanwhile, in fifth was another NSW boat, Wild Oats X, the Reichel-Pugh 66 with the same owners of Wild Oats XI, the Oatley family. It is skippered by Stacey Jackson.

The battle between the two Reichel-Pugh 66-footers Alive and Wild Oats X - was showing to be a nail biting one, with only one nautical mile separating them at 1pm when they had 16nm left to race.

Registered with the Derwent Sailing Squadron, Alive was 6nm east of the Iron Pot at the entry to the Derwent River at 1pm. She is a proven performer for long distance races, having broken several long-standing records, and won numerous races on Australia's east coast before heading to Southeast Asia in 2017 to race on the Asian circuit.

Skippered by Duncan Hine, Alive, bought by Turner in 2014, is a near-sistership to Wild Oats X. This is also her first Sydney Hobart since 2016 when she placed 17th overall and finished eighth across the line.

Meanwhile, Wild Oats X is the all-professional women crewed entry on which former Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, was on board for the Rolex Sydney Hobart start on Wednesday, after which she disembarked by jumping off as the boat passed near Bondi Beach.

Ms Bishop, who is an ambassador for the crew's campaign for ocean sustainability, was in Hobart and boarded the yacht after the finish.

Conditions on the Derwent River as the two crews raced to the finish were nice and breezy with winds blowing from the south at around 7-10 knots.

For all information and to follow the race on tracker: rolexsydneyhobart.com

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