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Wild Oats sets sights on next record
By David Beniuk
15:16 AEST Fri Dec 28 2012

Its own Sydney to Hobart race time demolished, Wild Oats XI is already setting its sights on another record - a seventh line honours victory in 2013.

The super-maxi shaved nearly 17 minutes off the mark it set in 2005 when it arrived at the finish line after one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds on Friday morning.

Its sixth line honours win added to victories in 2005-08 and 2010, and Oats owner Bob Oatley now has the record of seven set by Morna/Kurrewa IV between 1946-60 in his sights.

"Next year will be sweeter again to get seven," he told reporters.

"You can't do better than this boat. It's not possible in the world.

"I wouldn't swap her with anybody."

Skipper Mark Richards said few boats in the world could compete with Oats, which achieved the record despite hitting a log and losing her main spinnaker doing 25-30 knots.

"She's a fantastic boat," Richards said.

"There's no question she's one of the fastest mono-hulls on the planet and for an eight-year-old boat it's a pretty remarkable feat."

Wild Oats arrived with modifications to its keel and a massive code zero sail, and Oatley said the crew would have more tricks up their sleeves for 2013.

"We improve it every year, this year's no exception," he said.

"We'll think of other things. We've all got a good imagination."

Strong northerly winds had powered Oats to a position hours ahead of record pace, but a new mark had looked in doubt when it rounded Tasman Island at 3.30am (AEDT).

Needing to arrive before 7.40am and nine seconds, westerlies of 10-15 knots had its estimated arrival pushed back to 8.30.

The chase was suddenly back on, though, when she hit the Derwent on south-westerlies and she tacked home by 7.23.

"We thought, God, the record's on here so we've got to really work hard," Richards said.

"You start thinking the clock's ticking away but we did the right thing, got out heads out of the boat, started looking for the breeze, had the right sail up and that got us home."

The renamed Ragamuffin Loyal crossed second, four-and-a-half hours behind while the race's third maxi Lahana was due around 9.30pm.

Oatley said the three-minute loss to Loyal last year had "hurt like hell" and Richards confirmed his crew had been out to make amends.

"The boys were on a real mission this year to redeem ourselves," he said.

Richards remained confident Oats was still a chance for handicap honours after it moved back into first place ahead of Calm, Quest and 2011 winner Loki on Friday afternoon.

The race had suffered three casualties - Living Doll, Primitive Cool and Corporate Initiatives, all on their way to Eden on the NSW far south coast.


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