The 72nd edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race has been run and won with Perpetual Loyal cruising to the finish for the win at around 2:30am (AEDT) this morning, smashing the race record by almost five hours.
The race record, which has been unchanged since Wild Oats XI set the time of 1 day,18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds in 2012 was obliterated by the Anthony Bell skippered crew, with a time of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds.
The conditions were talked about as once in a liftime as the fleet set off from Sydney and that has been well and truly proven with the top three boat all coming inside the old record pace, which needed boats finishing before 7:23am (AEDT) on Wednesday morning.
There was nothing in the race for second place either, with the 70 footer Giacomo, skippered by Jim Delegat finishing just two minutes ahead of supermaxi Scallywag.
They were three hours ahead of record pace themselves, but viewers at Constitution Dock in Hobart may have been robbed of an exciting finish after race favourite Wild Oats XI earlier had to withdraw from the race.
Just off the east coast of Victoria, Oats suffered Hydraulic Ram damage and had to withdraw from the race, returning to Gabo Island early on Tuesday Morning.
At the time, Oats was leading the race by four nautical miles after having its lead cut from seven overnight by Loyal, who were then handed a 15 nautical mile lead over Giacomo and Scallywag who were battling down the coast for second.
At the time of writing, the race for fourth place is still well and truly on with Black Jack, Maserati and Beau Geste all separated by less than half a mile, the finish line in sight.
In the race for handicap, Giacomo is the top finished boat as of 8:40am (AEDT) on Wednesday Morning, but Ichi Ban and last year’s overall winner, Balance are both well in contention and should finish later this evening, pending on the netoriously fickle winds of the Derwent River.