SYDNEY (AFP) – The 43-foot yacht Wild Rose was Tuesday named the overall winner of the Sydney to Hobart race, following doubts about the results after some boats diverted to search for a crashed light plane.
Supermaxi Wild Oats XI on Sunday won a record eighth line honours, becoming the most successful yacht in the history of the 628 nautical mile (1,163km) competition when it crossed the line in two days, two hours, three minutes and 26 seconds late Monday.
Wild Rose, which was also formerly named Wild Oats, won the handicap honours with a corrected race time of three days, 10 hours, 47 minutes and 43 seconds. The handicap honours take into account the size, weight and length of each boat and the time they took to complete the race.
Skipper Roger Hickman, who was racing in the gruelling event for the 38th time, said his purchase of the 29-year-old yacht would not have happened without the help of Wild Oats XI’s owner Bob Oatley, who previously owned Wild Rose.
“I feel lucky and privileged to have Bob Oatley’s boat,” Hickman, who also recorded his third handicap win, said.
“I did three Hobarts with Bob on this boat. When I bought the boat from him in 1991, he almost gave it to me.”
Hickman changed the boat’s name from Wild Oats to Wild Rose in 1993 after its first victory that year. “She’s absolutely the best. She was built by John McConaghy and he said to me repeatedly, ‘This is his absolute best boat, the best I ever built’,” Hickman said.
“Bob Oatley gave McConaghy a blank cheque and said, ‘build me the best boat and name it’ so McConaghy did and that’s where the Wild Oats came from.
“It’s a good win for little boats. It just keeps the interest if one can win every 10 years or so. I will dedicate this race to them, they add to the adventure and character of the race.”
Several yachts that had been in contention to take the handicap honours, such as Love & War and Enchantress, were late Monday diverted to help search for a light plane that crashed into the water while reportedly taking photographs of the race.