Line honours contender Wild Oats XI is out of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2015 with mainsail damage as retirements mount up
Gale force southerly headwinds and rough seas have been pummelling the favourites for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2015 fleet and caused havoc among the leading super maxis. Eight times line honours winner Wild Oats XI, radically modified in the hopes of gaining a ninth prize this year, is returning to Sydney with a torn mainsail.
Her archival, American Jim Clarke’s Comanche, is racing on, but reported that she had hit something and sheared off most of the starboard side daggerboard and rudder. But skipper Ken Read declared that he was determined to finish “this damned race”.
A front tore across the fleet, as forecast, late last night turning the north-easterly sleigh ride into crash upwind with winds overnight of over 40 knots and a confused sea. To date, there have been 10 retirements, with 98 yachts still racing.
Damage reported include a broken rudder on Anthony Bell’s 100ft Perpetual Loyal and bow damage on Baltic 78 Lupa of London.
Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI was hit by a squall which tore her mainsail in half. Skipper Mark Richards elected to return to Sydney. Comanche’s crew was trying to repair the broken rudder (she has twin rudders) and is racing on, but is at the head of the fleet, with George David’s Rambler 88.
In 4th position and some 30 miles behind Rambler, Giovanni Soldini is putting in a great performance so far in VO70 Maserati.