Defending champion Wild Oats XI has crossed the finish line to clinch a record-equalling seventh line honours win in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
The last yacht to win seven times was Morna, also known as Kurrewa IV, which won line honours in 1946-48; 1954, 1956-57 and 1960.
The supermaxi, skippered by Mark Richards and owned by billionaire sailing enthusiast Bob Oatley, moved smoothly into the River Derwent and passed the finish line at Battery Point at 7.07 pm (AEDT).
This made a winning time of 54 hours and seven minutes, well outside the race record set by the same boat last year.
Wild Oats XI outwitted rival Perpetual Loyal in a stirring race through Sydney Harbour to the opening mark on Boxing Day.
Wild Oats XI lost ground on the first night of the race, with Perpetual Loyal clearing out to a 10 nautical mile advantage by dawn on Friday, but once conditions began to lighten, Wild Oats XI was clearly the faster boat.
The race favourite steadily reduced the gap to retake the lead in Bass Strait on Friday afternoon and was never headed again.
On Saturday the lead became more and more pronounced, with Wild Oats XI picking up speed to 25 knots as it headed down Tasmania’s east coast.
The Cruising Yacht Club’s Jim Gale was full of praise for the race winner, saying there was “something special” about the boat.
“This is a very, very good crew. It’s just full of America’s Cup experience, Volvo Ocean racing experience and skiff experience,” Gale said.
“It’s the creme de la creme in many ways of Australian ocean racing.”