Neville Crichtons New Zealand supermaxi Alfa Romeo beats ICAP Leopard to the line by 24 miles
Neville Crichton’s New Zealand supermaxi Alfa Romeo has taken line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at 22:02:10hrs, for an elapsed time of 2 days, 9 hours, 2 minutes and 10 seconds.
Wild Oats XI still had 16 miles to go when Alfa Romeo crossed the line, with ICAP Leopard a further 24 miles astern. Crichton’s victory brings to an end an extraordinary run of four straight line honours wins for Wild Oats XI, including a rare double line honours and handicap win, plus a new course record set in 2005.
This is the second line honours victory for Crichton. He won in 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart with a previous Alfa Romeo. Tonight’s win caps an extraordinary tally of 143 line honours wins worldwide for the 100 footer. This year it has set new records in the HSBC Premier Coastal Classic and the Transpac race.
Averaging 10 knots in a reasonably consistent N/NW breeze on the river, the silver maxi made easy work of the final stretch. At last the seasoned crew of Australian, New Zealand and British round the world and America’s Cup sailors could stop looking over their shoulders.
Crichton led the race from the early hours of Sunday morning when she opened a 20 mile lead on Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI and Mike Slade’s British supermaxi ICAP Leopard.
Alfa Romeo was first boat into the parking lot off Flinders Island and was first boat out.
‘Alfa is getting richer and richer and she is looking good for a handicap win too.’
There is a giant gap back to Sean Langman’s Investec LOYAL, 60 miles behind the leader, followed ten miles back by Matt Allen’s modified Volvo 70 Ichi Ban and Nicklas Zennström Ran
Overnight, boats that favoured the western side of the rhumbline reaped gains, particularly Sean Langman’s Investec LOYAL which has moved into fourth in the fleet.
Around midnight a gradual drop in wind strength and some variability in direction saw the front end of the fleet slow from 14-16 knots of boat speed to less than 10, and occasionally as low as 4-5. At 3am the leading three boats were east of Flinders Island averaging speeds around 10-15knts in a 0-5kt NNE breeze.
The battle for overall honours is still very much in the bag and dependent on conditions in the Derwent.