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2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Wild Oats Xi wins line honours

by Quinag 28 Dec 2018 23:48 PST 26-31 December 2018

At 15:00 AEST on Saturday, 32 yachts had completed the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart, there had been six retirements and 47 were still racing. Throughout the last 24 hours on the approach to the finish line in Hobart, the fleet have confronted a range of wind conditions and complex weather transitions. Currently leading the IRC standings in the contest for overall victory on handicap is a Tasmanian entry, Phillip Turner's Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive, the fifth yacht to finish this year's race.

The first yacht to arrive in Hobart was Wild Oats XI, crossing the finish line yesterday morning at 08:07.21. She completed the 628-nm race almost 30 minutes ahead of her nearest rivals Black Jack. In doing so, the 100-ft Maxi owned by the Oatley family and skippered by Mark Richards extended her record of line honours victories at the event to nine. It is her first line honours triumph at the Rolex Sydney Hobart since 2014.

Following a dramatic contest down the Derwent River into Hobart, the pursuing 100-footers all finished within 42 minutes of Wild Oats XI, who had assumed leadership of the race at Tasman Island shortly after 04:00 AEDT. The narrowest gap between the frontrunners was the 63 seconds which separated Peter Harburg's Black Jack and Comanche. Richards and the Wild Oats XI crew were rewarded for their success with the J.H. Illingworth Challenge Cup and a Rolex timepiece at a ceremony held on Constitution Dock.

Update: Following a protest against Wild Oats XI by the Race Committee of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which was held by the International Jury at Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania today, it was found that the protest was invalid and so Wild Oats XI retains her line honours crown.

Live tracking from the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart, organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, can be viewed here.

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