In mostly light and variable conditions throughout the 384 nautical mile race, one of the slowest on record, Wild Oats XI took two days 1 minute 16 seconds to complete the course; well outside the open race record she set in 2012 of 22 hours 3mins 43secs.
The super maxi last contested the race in 2014, when she took line honours in the time of one day 2hrs 27mins and 47secs, in nearly half the time it took her to finish this year.
“We had a lot of slow through the race, not just the end,” Wild Oats XI’s skipper Mark Richards said, referring to the 5½-6 knot fluky breeze that brought them to the finish line. It seemed to take forever.
“It was really good coming out of a six month break from sailing. It was a constructive exercise; the weather allowed us to do a lot of testing,” he said referring to the major modifications undertaken prior to last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, and the tweaking and adjustments made after retiring from that race.
Richards and crew have decided to take advantage of the light breeze to continue sailing the boat and testing systems on the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Of their main rival, Scallywag’s departure from the race after the keel ram exploded, Richards commented: “It’s such a shame. They were going really well and it was shaping up to be a great race. When they’re back on the water I’m sure we’ll have some excellent racing against them.”
It was a woefully slow final 25 miles to the finish line when the breeze dropped out, allowing the Queensland V70, Black Jack (Peter Harburg), to close the gap on her rival from close to 46 miles in the early hours of this morning to 25 nautical miles at the time of Wild Oats XI’s finish.
All information on the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is on the official race website:http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au
Di Pearson, CYCA media