Sydney to Hobart supermaxi arch rivals Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal have shown winning form in big races on different continents.
Wild Oats XI, the record eight-time Sydney to Hobart line honours winner, was the fastest boat home in the biennial 2225 nautical mile Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
She finished a few hours ahead of another Australian super maxi, Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100.
Back in Australia, Perpetual Loyal took line honours in the 394 nautical mile Sydney to Gold Coast race.
For once Wild Oats XI didn’t claim line honours in her race, but only due to the unusual staggered start system in the Transpac.
Bob Oatley’s record breaking boat was second across the line, less than 12 hours behind the 37-footer Celerity, which started the race five days before the Australian supermaxi.
Owner Oatley 87, who entered the boat in the Transpac in conjunction with American Roy P Disney, was dockside to congratulate skipper Mark Richards and the victorious crew of eight Australians, six Americans and two New Zealanders.
In Australia, Perpetual Loyal finished just over an hour ahead of the 70-footer Black Jack.
Light conditions left her almost 12 hours outside the Sydney to Gold Coast race record of 22 hours 3 minutes 43 seconds set by Wild Oats XI in 2012.
“This is the fastest the boat has ever been,” Perpetual Loyal’s skipper-owner Anthony Bell said.
“We modified the bulb and keel and it’s all looking very positive. We are very confident in the boat.”
Bell was disappointed he didn’t get the chance to test the boat against Wild Oats XI and measure any improvement after being forced to retire from last year’s Sydney to Hobart.
Bell, who took Sydney to Hobart line honours in 2011 aboard Investec Loyal, has suggested he won’t be taking any celebrities with him this year, as he usually does when he heads south.
His boat, Wild Oats XI and Ragamuffin 100, which finished third across the line in the last two Sydney to Hobart’s aren’t likely to meet too often before the 2015 race.
However, they all have to sail a qualifier for the Hobart and there’s a possibility at least two of them will contest the Cabbage Tree Island race on November 20.
The annual Big Boat Race in mid-December will provide another potential opportunity for the supermaxis to size each other up before the Boxing Day start of the Sydney Hobart.
by Adrian Warren