Sunday, 28 December 2008

Rolex Sydney Hobart 2008: Wild Oats XI Ready to Make History

by Jennifer Crooks

The crew on the 30m maxi Wild Oats XI look likely to get their dream finish in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart after all. Grant Wharington's former overall winner Skandia stole the limelight yesterday but this morning, 28th December, she trails Wild Oats XI by 15 nautical miles on approach to Tasman Island.

Barring mishap, Wild Oats XI's line honours domination of Australia's premier ocean classic looks set to be cemented with a record fourth line honours win in Hobart this morning, 28th December. Currently their ETA across the finish line off Battery Point is 9.30am local time.

Nor'westerlies are expected to build across Storm Bay with 30 knots offshore and there is plenty of wind in the Derwent River to give the expected flotilla of spectators a real chase as they escort the likely line honours winner Wild Oats XI to her place in history.

The leading handicap positions have remained fairly static overnight with Alan Whiteley�s Melbourne TP52 Cougar II ahead of Bob Steel's sistership Quest and Geoff Ross' Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys.

This morning, Yendys� navigator Will Oxley reported interesting times and close racing.

"Cougar II is in sight behind, Loki is to weather and ahead a few miles. The wind is getting pretty light"� said Oxley.

"The boat is in great shape so far with no sail damage yet!

"We are up for a big 12-15 hours and a tilt at this one. To try and have a better handicap we have run with only four spinnakers and so there have been a few nervous times but excellent helming has so far kept us out of trouble."

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2008

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