Wild Oats XI wins Sydney Hobart race for record eighth time
by Malcolm MacLean
Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI has won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours for the eighth time in a time of two days two hours three minutes and 26 seconds, going down in the race’s 70 year history as the only yacht ever to achieve this feat.
Offshore yacht racing fans were keen to see how Jim Clark's newly-delivered yacht Comanche would fare in this, her first race, and they were not disappointed. At the start, Comanche left the rest of the fleet in its wake and continued to hold on to the lead through the first night. However, in light airs the next day, she was overtaken by Wild Oats XI which managed to hold on to the lead until the finish line.
Bob Oatley was effusive dockside as his yacht was brought to the dock: 'It’s a miracle – and we will be back next year, yes, we’ll definitely be back next year.'
Comanche's owner Jim Clark was gracious in defeat, saying, 'Wild Oats and her skipper Mark Richards ran one hell of a race and it’s a really excellent boat. Disappointed we got stuck in that high pressure system, but they managed to sneak through it.'