World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Wild Oats Leads Sydney Hobart Fleet Out Of Harbour

Wild Oats XI leads Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet out of the harbour

From the opening seconds of the 63rd Rolex Sydney Hobart Wild Oats XI, the pre-race line honours favourite led the fleet down Sydney Harbour but prowling along the exclusion zone boundary and matching Wild Oats XI, at least to the first turning mark, was Mike Slade's City Index Leopard.

"We will have a great race with them," said Ian Burns, Wild Oats XI's navigator this afternoon as they scooted down the New South Wales coast in a 15-17 knot nor'easter which is expected to build during the afternoon.

It was a spectacular 1pm start watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the foreshores and on spectator craft of varying sizes. Under a bright summer sky seemingly full of news helicopters, in a cool 10-12 knot northeasterly breeze, Wild Oats XI chose the leeward end of the northern start line, in clear air downwind of rival British maxi City Limit Leopard.

As City Index Leopard made the approach to the first running mark, Wild Oats XI held their course well beyond the buoy, not tacking until they were sure they could cover the UK maxi.

The two maxis clawed their way out of the Harbour in a whirlpool created by spectator boats desperately trying to keep up with the 30m monsters; Wild Oats XI slowly built on her lead, rounding the marker buoy a mile off the Heads at 1:15pm with City Index Leopard giving chase, rounding less than a minute astern.

With her huge Code Zero unfurled and with a couple of daring helicopter pilots circling its towering mast, Wild Oats XI hit 20 knots of boat speed further out to sea while City Index Leopard chose a course closer to the coast, as did Grant Wharington's Skandia in third place.

Roger Sturgeon's American STP 65 Rosebud lay in fourth place, emphatically declaring that she is a boat to watch in the battle for handicap. With the forecast conditions it is widely believed that the overall winner will come from this size range, the American revelling in the conditions right from the crack of cannon fire and opening up a clear and early break on local boats Yendys, Quantum Racing and the TP52s Wot Yot and Ragamuffin.

A big ebb tide caught many on the second start line out. A total of 12 jumped the start with many taking some time to respond to the radio call to return and re-start. After being recalled, Palandri Wines Minds Eye, the smallest in the 82 boat fleet was the last to leave Sydney Harbour. Unfortunately, Jim and Mary Holley on the Lake Macquarie boat Aurora, never responded to the race committee's call to return to the start line and they have continued on their way.

Steve Humphries' West Australian S&S 34 Huckleberry rounded the sea mark at 1:42pm, the last of the fleet not recalled to the start line.

Alan Brierty's Limit was a late starter due to a problem encountered overnight on the other side of the country. Brierty's red eye flight out of Perth last night was delayed, then delayed again and he was forced to make the dash from Sydney airport to the start line after his flight landed at 12.38pm, just 22 minutes before the 1pm cannon was fired by Michael York from aboard Aussie One.

This afternoon sailing master Roger Hickman advised that Limit got underway at 1:17pm this afternoon "in lovely clear air and a clear lane" and that they were about to pass the last of the boats which started off the second start line. Hickman and the crew were enjoying lunch while the "big fella is having a cigar", to settle the nerves no doubt.

Mike Freebairn's resplendent Spirit of Koomooloo, formerly Margaret Rintoul II made its Rolex Sydney Hobart comeback today after last competing in the stormy 1998 race. - Lisa Ratcliff/Jim Gale


Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news