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Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2005

Wild Oats XI Sets New Race Record


Yachts line up for the start of the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Yachts line up for the start of the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Copyright Daniel Forster/Rolex

  • Overall winner: Wild Oats XI, Bob Oatley, NSW
  • Line honors: Wild Oats XI, Bob Oatley, NSW — 1:18:40:10

Bob Oatley's 30-metre (98-foot) New South Wales maxi Wild Oats XI skippered by Mark Richards has broken the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race record set by Nokia in 1999. Wild Oats XI crossed the Derwent River finish line in Hobart at 8.01am, December 28, Australian eastern summer time.

The line honors winner set a record-breaking time of 01:18:40:10, with an undisputed lead for most of the journey south. Nokia's 1999 race record was 01:19:48:02.

In the evening of December 29, Wild Oats XI was confirmed as handicap winner of the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, making the super maxi the first yacht to win the treble since Captain John Illingworth and his yacht Rani won the inaugural race across Bass Strait 60 years ago.

Winning the treble meant winning line honors, setting a new race record, and becoming handicap winner in the one Sydney to Hobart race.

Eighty-five in starting line

Eighty-five boats, from 98-foot maxis to little more than a 30-foot dinghy, were in the starting line in the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which started in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.

Recently-launched super maxis Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats XI were hoping for a good downwind passage to Tasmania. In 1999, the water-ballasted Nokia won line honors in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race with a race record of 1 day, 19 hours, 48 minutes and 2 seconds. Previous to that, the record had stood at 2 days, 14 hours, 7 minutes, 10 seconds set by Morning Glory in 1996.

Good weather forecast

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race organisers said an uncharacteristically benign weather forecast promised a fast Sydney to Hobart, and looked set to favor the five 90-plus-foot maxi yachts.

Wild Oats led out of Sydney Harbour at the start of the race with Alfa Romeo close behind.

Overseas entries included Gerard O'Rourke's Cookson 50 Chieftain from Ireland, Dirk Wiegmann's Beale 45 Conergy from Germany, and Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss from Great Britain.


Originally, two AAPT boats were nominated by owner Sean Langman. The 2004 AAPT finished second in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race for line honors. First across the line was Nicorette.

With Langman chartering the 90-footer Nicorette from Ludde Ingvall (who skippered the 2004 winning boat through galeforce wind conditions), Nicorette was renamed AAPT 2.

Langman then withdrew the old AAPT from the race and what was AAPT 2 was now simply AAPT.

Familiar names

Among the boats nominated for the 2005 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race were those with familiar names such as Alfa Romeo, Konica Minolta, Ragamuffin, Skandia, Wild Oats and Yendys.

But these boats were not necessarily the same as those bearing the same names in past Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race seasons. Some of them were totally new boats, some had been rebuilt after suffering damage, a large number had undergone modifications.

Race start

The 2005 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race started at 1.20pm on December 26 in Sydney Harbour.

The fleet represented five countries and seven Australian states and territories.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Geoff Lavis said entries had come from the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, four entries from New Zealand, and representation from New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT.

The race course covers 628 nautical miles from Sydney to Hobart in Tasmania's Derwent River.

Next Page: Wild Oats XI Wins the Treble

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