Wild Oats XI achieves a record eighth line honor in the annual Rolex Sydney-Hobart boat race
Wild Oats XI finishes in two days, two hours, three minutes and 26 seconds
Comanche placed second after entering the race with much fanfare and making a fast start
Comanche is owned by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark and his model wife
The supermodel’s new super yacht couldn’t quite keep up with an established vessel in the annual Rolex Sydney-Hobart race.
Comanche – owned by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark and his wife, Australian model Kristy Hinze-Clark – had to settle for second behind history maker Wild Oats XI in the 70th running of the ‘Bluewater Classic.’
Wild Oats XI became the first boat to achieve eight line honors, surpassing the seven line honors of Morna – later called Kurrewa IV – in the 1950s and 60s when it crossed the finish line in two days, two hours, three minutes and 26 seconds Sunday.
Comanche had been closing the gap in the 628-nautical mile race but ultimately was 49 minutes slower than Wild Oats XI, which is owned by wine magnate Robert Oatley.
“To rewrite a bit of sailing history doesn’t come along every day,” Wild Oats XI’s skipper, Mark Richards, was quoted as saying by the race’s official website. “To win a Hobart is a great honor but to win an eighth, I can’t believe I am here.
“Comanche was unbelievably impressive down Sydney Harbour and the whole first night she had the legs on us. We thought, ‘How are we going to handle this thing?’
“It was definitely our toughest race – to have a boat so close for so much of the race, especially when she’s faster than you. I said to the guys ‘We’ve got to hang in there, hang tough, minimize our losses and wait for the first opportunity we get to attack.’”
That opportunity came in the Bass Strait.
The lighter conditions suited Wild Oats XI, which opened up a big lead.
“We were about a quarter of the way into Bass Strait and expecting a westerly breeze, and all of a sudden Stan (navigator Stan Honey) came up from down below and said, ‘I just got a new weather file, this is not looking good,’” Comanche skipper Ken Read was quoted as saying by the race’s official website.
“We were two miles ahead of them, in bumpy seas, and they literally went by us, probably going a knot or two faster at the time, and they just sailed into more pressure and just kept extending on the whole fleet.
“Both boats sailed a flawless race but they had their day. They had 12 hours where they had Wild Oats’ weather, but that’s racing.”
While it wasn’t known whether Comanche would return next year, Oatley said Wild Oats XI would be back.
“We will be back next year, yes, we’ll definitely be back next year,” Oatley was quoted as saying by the race’s website. “She is the best boat in the world. She’s proved that.”