This year's fleet for the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December reaches 60 already. 'Wild Oats Xl' the boat to beat.
The boat to beat for line honours this year will be Bob Oatley‘s super maxi Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards. It was beaten into second place last year by Anthony Bell’s Investec Loyal, which won by a margin of only three minutes and eight seconds, the fourth closest finish in the history of the race.
Wild Oats XI is the race record holder and has claimed line honours in five of the last seven Hobart races, including four consecutive victories from 2005, when it broke the record.
After losing to Investec Loyal in the light conditions of the 2011 race, Wild Oats XI has a new configuration below the waterline. She still has the retractable daggerboards that were fitted for the 2011 race, but now has another retractable centreboard on the centerline, three metres aft of the bow.
To beat her own race record, Wild Oats XI has to average 14.7 knots - and that’s achievable in the right conditions, according to Richards.
The CYCA is predicting a fleet of about 90 yachts making the start on Boxing Day, December 26 at 1pm AEDT.