icon_arrow_down icon_arrow_left icon_arrow_left_large icon_arrow_right icon_arrow_right_large icon_arrow_up icon_bullet_arrow icon_call icon_close icon_facebook icon_googleplus icon_grid_off icon_instagram icon_login icon_mail icon_menu icon_message icon_minus icon_pinterest icon_plus icon_quote_end icon_quote_start icon_refresh icon_search icon_tick_on icon_twitter icon_video_play icon_youtube

Sign up to our mailing list for the latest Boat International & Events news.


Missing your newsletter?

If you’ve unsubscribed by mistake and would like to continue to hear about the latest Boat International & Events news, update your preferences now and let us know which emails you’d like to receive.

No, thanks
Bob Oatley, owner of Wild Oats XI, dies aged 87

Bob Oatley, owner of Wild Oats XI, dies aged 87

Bob Oatley, the multimillionaire winemaker and owner of supermaxi Wild Oats XI, has died at the age of 87. He has been recognised for his distinguished service to the Australian wine and tourism industries and to the sport of yacht racing.

The 30 metre Wild Oats XI is a regular contender in the famous Sydney Hobart yacht race. She is also the most successful, with eight line honour victories and the race’s fastest time. Unfortunately she suffered a ripped mainsail during the recent 2015 Sydney Hobart and was forced to retire.

A keen sailor, Oatley also looked into entering an Australian team into the 35th America’s Cup. Team Australia was the first to challenge Oracle Team USA when the Americans defended the Cup in September 2013. However the team from Hamilton Island Yacht Club then decided to withdraw in 2014 after being unable to negotiate rule changes with the defending champions.

Oatley began by exporting coffee and cocoa beans from Papua New Guinea in the 1950’s and 60s. In 1969 he spotted an opportunity and planted the first vineyards at the Rosemount Estate in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. 15 years later his Rosemount wines had become prominent in the global market.

In 2001 Oatley sold the wine company to Treasury Wine Estates for a cool 1.5 billion Australian dollars and turned his attention to Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday’s. Having spent quite a bit of time in Porto Cervo in Sardinia, Oatley had a particular vision to try and do the same thing in Australia.

He bought Hamilton Island for AU$200 million in 2003 and invested a further AU$350 to make it into a world-class luxury resort. The island paradise in the Whitsunday’s now attracts sailors every year for the Audi Hamilton Race Week.

Oatley is survived by his wife Valerie and three children Ros, Ian and Sandy.

Upgrade your account
Your account at BOAT International doesn't include a BOAT Pro subscription. Please subscribe to BOAT Pro in order to unlock this content.
Subscribe More about BOAT Pro