The 30m maxi yacht has rounded Tasman Island and is now just 40 miles from Sydney Hobart finish 28/12/06

At 1935 (AEDT) today the 30 metre maxi Wild Oats XI had just rounded Tasman Island, 40 nautical miles from the finish line of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and 22 miles ahead of second-placed Ichi Ban.

If the south to south-easterly wind of around 18 knots holds, Wild Oats XI should be able to hoist a spinnaker soon after rounding Tasman for her final run to Hobart and the finish line at Castray Esplanade. The crew of Wild Oats XI has given the race centre an ETA across the finish line of 1030 (AEDT) tonight.

If Wild Oats XI takes line honours, it will be only the sixth time in 62 years a boat has done it back-to-back and the first time since Astor in 1964.

Skandia has just lost second place to Ichi Ban in their intense match race down the Tasmanian coast. As Wild Oats XI rounded Tasmania, Ichi Ban crept past Skandia.

Wild Oats is about 16 hours outside her record for the race.