Wild Oats XI on track for Sydney to Hobart record

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    Supermaxi Wild Oats XI remains on record pace while maintaining her lead at the front of the Sydney to Hobart fleet.

    The eight-time line honours champion continued to lead the fleet of 85 through the early hours of Tuesday morning, with the frontrunner .south east of Gabo Island

    She was around seven nautical miles clear of rival supermaxi Perpetual LOYAL, who led the race out of Sydney Heads on Monday.

    One of the major talking points was the excellent form shown through the night of the three Volvo 70s, especially Black Jack and Giacomo, which established themselves in the leading group.

    Although the race tracker showed supermaxi Scallywag dropping to eighth, race officials said it was more a case of her moving further offshore than actually losing ground

    They said her tactic meant she was likely to have to gybe less than some of her rivals..

    GIacomo apart, another NZ representative, the 80-foot Beau Geste was also in the leading group.

    That cluster of boats was all on or ahead of record pace.

    Boats must finish before 7:23am Hobart time on Wednesday to eclipse the existing line honours record of one day,18 hours, 23 minutes and12 seconds set by Wild Oats in 2012.

    While the Oatley family’s peerless supermaxi remains in prime position to extend her race record of line honours wins, she wasn’t among the early handicap pacesetters.

    Leading the way overall was 40 foot Bravo, skippered by Queenaland sailing icon Robert “Robbo” Robertson.

    Also among the overall frontrunners were China’s UBOX and two of the pre-race favourites, Matt Allen’s TP 52 IchI Ban and Rupert Henry’s JV 62 Chinese Whisper.

    Three boats retired on Monday, but there was no report of any further withdrawals during the night.

    © AAP 2017