Perpetual LOYAL has stamped her authority on the Sydney to Hobart yacht race by charging ahead of line honours favourite Wild Oats XI and the rest of the fleet during the first night at sea.
Anthony Bell’s supermaxi performed well in mostly light air, establishing a lead of 10 nautical miles, over the six-time line honours winner to break open a previously close race.
“Last night we were further out to sea and that paid off,” Perpetual LOYAL navigator Stan Honey said.
“We are pleased to be in the hunt, because light air is not our strong point and its been light all night..”
His Wild Oats XI counterpart Tom Addis admitted the famed supermaxi had a lot of work to do.
“It was a messy night, pretty benign, (with) 15 knots (wind) as the maximum,” Addis said.
“There were a lot of storms off the coast and we got tangled in the tail end of the storms. “Today will be another tough day. There will be quite a few decisions to make, quite a few sail changes to make.
“Bass Strait will be a landmine.”
“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”
Behind the two supermaxis were the two Volvo 70s, with Giacomo running third, 14 miles off the lead, with Black Jack another six miles back. New Zealand’s Giacomo had enjoyed second place ahead of Wild Oats for a short period.
They were followed by supermaxis, Ragamuffin and Wild Thing and new 80-foot boat Beau Geste.
The fleet remained at 92, with no further retirements overnight.
Giacomo was leading the race on handicap from Perpetual LOYAL and the British Clipper 68 CV10, which has sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston aboard.