Wild Oats XI. Photo by Getty
Sydney to Hobart line honours leader Wild Oats XI is back
inside record time as the super-maxi charges towards the finish
The Mark Richards-skippered yacht has picked up speed and is
now expected at Constitution Dock around 20 minutes ahead of
its 2005 record time.
The crew had all but given up on breaking the record of one
day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds after rounding
Tasman Island at 3.30am (AEDT) on Friday.
Westerlies of 10-15 knots late last night replaced the strong
northerlies that had powered the five-time line honours
winner to a position hours ahead of record pace.
But, as tactician Iain Murray had predicted, Oats was picking
up the forecast south westerlies as it headed into the River
It was leading Ragamuffin Loyal by 46 nautical miles with
third maxi Lahana a further 50nm back.
NSW yacht Jazz led the handicap standings ahead of Calm and
Secret Men's Business.
Two boats retired on Thursday, the first casualties of the
race, leaving 74 of the fleet still competing.
Last year's handicap runner-up Living Doll pulled out with a
broken rudder and was expected in Eden in southern NSW around
Victorian boat Primitive Cool quit with a damaged mainsail
and was also heading to Eden.
Meanwhile, Ragamuffin's time could be affected by an
international jury hearing after the 2011 line honours victor
jumped the start in Sydney.
Its crew will front an international jury at 4pm in Hobart.