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Friday, December 28, 2012

Wild Oats XI wins Sydney-Hobart yacht race

Winners are grinners

Skipper Mark Richards is a happy man.  After her superb start in Sydney Harbour, Wild Oats XI took line honours for the sixth time with a new race record of one day, 18 hours,  21 minutes and 17 seconds.

Mark Richards

When questions were asked about the modifications and if the same boat would run again next year, Wild Oats owner Bob Oatley said "Yes it will be the same boat, you can't do better than this boat, it's not possible and without a great crew, you are wasting your time completely - they're one of the best crews in the world, if not the best" he said.

Mark Richards with Adrienne Cahalan

Navigator Adrienne Cahalan holds the record for the fastest woman to sail around the world and America's Cup Skipper Iain Murray is also a crew member.

In a race for the finish, Richards hoisted their biggest reaching sail - 600 square metres, designed to capture every whiff of a breeze.

The longest surviving skipper from the inaugural 1945 race, died on 23 September 2007 aged 92 and was the last of the original sailors who pioneered the event.  His yacht, Wayfarer, still holds the record for the slowest elapsed time.

Skipper goes in the drink this morning

Tragedy struck the race in 1998.   At the start, there were 115 boats yet only 44 made it to Hobart.  We were horrified to learn that five yachts sank and six people died.  A coronial enquiry was critical of management and the Bureau of Meteorology for not issuing a warning about the treacherous storm with hurricane-like winds that resulted in so many deaths.  From then on, all crew must be seasoned sailors.

Robert Oatley

Chairman of Robert Oatley Vineyards is reported to be worth $860 million.  His eldest son, Sandy, runs the company in Mudgee and his other son, Ian, runs the olive oil business. A grandchild runs events for his Hamilton Island luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef, and another does graphic designs for the wine labels. Mr Oatley sold Rosemount Estates in 2006 and is now in his 80s.  

Beautiful Hamilton Island