A dejected Mark Richards wants Wild Oats XI to again contest the Sydney to Hobart after a mechanical failure ended the boat’s latest campaign.
After pulling in to Eden on the NSW far south coast overnight, the skipper said he didn’t want the boat’s long history with the blue water classic to end on a sour note, but the final decision will be up to owner Sandy Oatley.
“Knowing their nature and our nature we don’t want to finish this boat’s history by finishing at Eden, that’s for sure,” Richards told Seven News.
The eight-time line honours winner was forced to retire and give up a record lead on Tuesday as a hydraulic problem rendered their keel control useless.
“The keel ram head just snapped off the keel ram which controls the whole counter-keel mechanism and that was it, in an instant, all over,” the skipper said.
“The boat has been through a lot worse conditions than that. Often what happens with fatigued metal, it doesn’t necessarily go in the worst of conditions.
“It’s out of your control really.”
Wild Oats XI was leading Perpatual LOYAL when trouble struck, the latter boat going on to take line honours and smash the race record set by Oats in 2012 by almost five hours .
“The guys were doing a fantastic job, we were in a fantastic position in the race, the boat certainly had the legs to continue in that position, we just had a failure,” Richards said.
The boat turned back for Eden and made it back about midnight when crew were bussed back to Sydney.
While the skipper said he hoped to see the boat contest the race again, he appreciated the challenges.
“It’s a big deal – these boats cost a lot of money to run, (there’s) a lot of preparation.”