MELBOURNE • Australia's Perpetual Loyal won the 72nd edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in a record time of one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds yesterday.
The super maxi, owned and skippered by Anthony Bell, crossed the finish line in Hobart in the early hours of the morning to take four hours, 51 minutes, 52 seconds off the previous mark set by Wild Oats XI four years ago.
Wild Oats XI, which had been chasing a record ninth line honours victory in the gruelling 1,170km race, suffered a broken hydraulic ram and dropped out of the race while leading on Tuesday, leaving Perpetual Loyal clear to sail across the Bass Strait to victory.
Bell said he thought his boat would have had a shot at winning even if Wild Oats XI had not broken down.
"This is one for the true believers," he said in Hobart. "I don't think anyone expected us to do well in this race, the bookies certainly didn't... we came out of the blocks and we raced one hell of a race. We were brave and stuck to the course."
New Zealand's Volvo 70 Giacomo, owned and skippered by Jim Delegat whose two teenage sons were among the crew, finished second, some two hours after Perpetual Loyal, just ahead of Hong Kong's Scallywag in third place.
Bell's boat manager Brad Kellet said Perpetual Loyal had pushed Wild Oats to its limits.
"Someone had to crack," he said. "That's not our weather, it's Wild Oats' weather, but we put ourselves in a great position, so that when Oats retired, we had enough of a lead over V70 and Scallywag to win."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE