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June 25, 2018

Comanche, Wild Oats XI in Sydney to Hobart duel

HOBART, Australia (AP) — Seven-time champion Wild Oats XI and American super maxi Comanche continued their Sydney to Hobart duel on Saturday, 24 hours into the annual ocean race to the island state of Tasmania.

Comanche, which was launched in October and is being tested in race conditions for the first time, led defending champion Wild Oats XI for much of the race since its start Friday in Sydney Harbour.

But by early afternoon Saturday, Wild Oats opened up a three-nautical-mile lead over the American boat, with both yachts completing about 250 nautical miles of the 628-nautical-mile race.

Ragamuffin, another super maxi and skippered by 87-year-old Syd Fischer, was in a distant third place, about 40 nautical miles behind the leaders. Another American entry, super maxi Rio 100, was fourth.

Perpetual Loyal was earlier sitting in fourth place before being forced to retire due to a damaged hull — the first of the five super maxis in the race to retire and one of eight yachts to pull out following a rough first night at sea.

Perpetual Loyal skipper Anthony Bell decided to withdraw early Saturday after the boat started taking on water while off Eden on the New South Wales state south coast.

The boat, which includes professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, former world champion boxer Danny Green and Olympic sailor Tom Slingsby among its crew, returned to its home club at Sydney’s Rose Bay.

“We’re not exactly sure how it happened,” Slingsby said. “We were coming off some big waves but we also could have hit something during the night when we were falling off these waves.”

Brindabella, the 1997 champion, also retired from the original 117-yacht fleet with rudder problems.

Wild Oats XI set the race record of 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds in 2012, a mark that will likely stand this year.

Link – 

Comanche, Wild Oats XI in Sydney to Hobart duel