Per­pet­ual Loyal smashes Syd­ney-Ho­bart record

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralian su­per­maxi Per­pet­ual Loyal smashed the Syd­ney to Ho­bart record by al­most five hours to take line hon­ours yes­ter­day af­ter “one hell of a race” that saw eight-time win­ner Wild Oats XI re­tire.

Loyal, long-time ri­val of favourite Wild Oats, put to bed its fail­ure to fin­ish the past two races when the 100-footer ar­rived at Ho­bart’s Con­sti­tu­tion Dock in a record time of 1 day 13hr 31min 20sec. “This is one for the true be­liev­ers,” owner and skip­per An­thony Bell told re­porters at Ho­bart’s Con­sti­tu­tion Dock af­ter pow­er­ing to the fin­ish line at 20 knots.

“I don’t think any­one ex­pected us to do well ... the bookies cer­tainly didn’t. “We raced one hell of a race,” he told re­porters. “It’s an awe­some thing to break the race record.” Per­pet­ual Loyal boat man­ager Brad Kel­let told the or­gan­is­ers the su­per­maxi had pushed Wild Oats to its lim­its.

“Some­one had to crack,” he said. “That’s not our weather, it’s Wild Oats’ weather, but we put our­selves in a great po­si­tion, so that when Oats re­tired, we had enough of a lead over the V70s and Scal­ly­wag to win.” The new time for the 628-nau­ti­cal-mile (1,163-kilo­me­tre) event was four hours and 51 min­utes faster than the pre­vi­ous record of 1 day 18hr 23min 12sec set in 2012 by Wild Oats. New Zealand’s Volvo 70 Gi­a­como, which hopes to be crowned over­all win­ner in the hand­i­cap hon­ours for the ves­sel that per­forms best ac­cord­ing to size, came in sec­ond with a time of 1 day 15hr 27min 5sec.

OATS RE­TIRES

“It was a bit of a down­wind race, so it suited us,” said owner and wine­maker Jim Del­e­gat. “Still, we’re pretty sur­prised, it’s not of­ten that a 70-footer can do this, get sec­ond over the line.”

Hong Kong busi­ness­man Seng Huang Lee’s su­per­maxi Scal­ly­wag crossed the fin­ish line about two min­utes later, also eas­ily beat­ing the old record. Loyal had ben­e­fited from favourable north­east­erly winds that saw the fleet tear down Aus­tralia’s east coast af­ter de­part­ing Syd­ney Har­bour on Mon­day. The yacht was first into the open ocean but Wild Oats soon edged into the lead and looked well set to break its own record for the race. But in a bit­ter blow, its hy­draulic keel con­trol mech­a­nism failed in the mid­dle of the Bass Strait.

Skip­per Mark Richards made the call to re­tire on safety grounds on Tues­day morn­ing. It was the sec­ond year in suc­ces­sion that Wild Oats had to pull out from the blue­wa­ter clas­sic, with a main­sail rip thwart­ing her am­bi­tions in 2015.

CHAL­LENG­ING RACE

“It was sad to see them break,” said Bell af­ter his sec­ond win in the gru­elling event, tak­ing line hon­ours in 2011 with In­vestec Loyal “We were prob­a­bly less than half a mile away from them when it hap­pened. We saw the boat tilt right over and we saw them come to a sud­den stop.” Af­ter ra­dio­ing Wild Oats, Bell said he of­fered as­sis­tance and to stop rac­ing if needed.

“Our first worry was that Oats might have lost a crew mem­ber over­board,” he said. “The for­tu­nate thing was no one got hurt.” Bell sig­nalled his in­tent to move on af­ter the record win, say­ing he “won’t be back next year”. The rest of the 80-odd fleet were due in Ho­bart over the next day or two when hand­i­cap hon­ours will be de­cided. Last year’s over­all win­ner Bal­ance, a 52-footer owned by Aus­tralian Paul Clitheroe, was run­ning Gi­a­como close for a sec­ond suc­ces­sive hand­i­cap crown but had yet to fin­ish.

Cruis­ing Yacht Club of Aus­tralia com­modore John Markos said this year’s fast con­di­tions “will make it a pretty hard record to break”.

Storms are usu­ally a reg­u­lar haz­ard in the Syd­ney to Ho­bart, one of the world’s most chal­leng­ing races. Six men died, five boats sank and 55 sailors were res­cued in 1998 when a deep de­pres­sion hit the Tas­man Sea.

SYD­NEY: This hand­out pho­to­graph from Rolex taken yes­ter­day shows Aus­tralian su­per­maxi yacht Per­pet­ual Loyal com­pet­ing in the Syd­ney to Ho­bart race. Per­pet­ual Loyal smashed the Syd­ney to Ho­bart record by al­most five hours to take line hon­ours yes­ter­day af­ter “one hell of a race” that saw eight-time win­ner Wild Oats XI re­tire.

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