Wild Oats XI has been forced to retire from the 2016 Sydney to Hobart on Tuesday Morning, as the supermaxi entered Bass Straight.
One of the most successful boats in the history of the blue water classic, Wild Oats have won line honours in the race eight times but have ran into some rotten luck over the last two years.
After being forced to retire in a big storm that whipped up last year, the supermaxi has suffered hydraulic ram issues this time around and was forced to pull out just south of Gabo Island, off the east coast of Victoria.
While the conditions weren’t terrible, the damage sustained by Oats was too great for them to carry on across the Straight to Tasmania.
Oats were having a wonderful run down the coast of New South Wales, on record pace and leading the race by up to seven nautical miles overnight.
They did have to recover from a dreadful start though where they gave up plenty of ground to fellow supermaxi’s Perpetual LOYAL and Scallywag who led the fleet out of Sydney Harbour.
Wild Oats confirmed why they were widely thought to be favourites though as they set a cracking pace throughout the first 18 hours of the race.
Fellow supermaxi Perpetual LOYAL is now at the front of the fleet, also ahead of race record pace while Giacomo and Maserati slot into second and third respectively, but sit over 15 nautical miles behind Loyal.
Formerly known as Speedboat and Rambler, Loyal finished second in line honours to Wild Oats in 2013, but has had to retire from the last two editions with damage.
Skipper Anthony Bell has been at the helm of a winning yacht before though, back in 2011 and they have now moved into favouritism to take out the 72nd edition.
More to come