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Rolex Sydney Hobart: Wild Oats XI just heads Loyal in opening stanzas    
Thu, 26 Dec 2013

With the thunder of media helicopters at the 69th start of the blue water classic, Wild Oats XI won the stare down at the start of the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart with rival Perpetual Loyal, the former Speedboat.

With the wind coming from the east south east, at 15-18 knots, a reaching start. Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI was expected to blast off the line from the pin end.

After an even start, with Wild Oats XI, Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal, Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing and Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100 led the front group.

Approaching the first mark it seemed that Perpetual Loyal had the inside running and could roll over Wild Oats XI.

But skipper Mark Richards kept his cool. Luffed up by Wild Oats XI, Perpetual Loyal was slow to drop down to line, and Wild Oats XI rounded ahead of Giacomo, with Perpetual Loyal third. Karl Kwok’s Botin 80 Beau Geste well placed behind them.

By the Zulu seamark the final clearing mark before heading south, Loyal had climbed into second place.

When she first tacked back towards the coast Wild Oats XI covered her and as she went out, then they separated as Wild Oats XI headed inshore and Loyal stayed wide. Outside of her was Ragamuffin and Beau Geste.

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team

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