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Scallywag set to test Oats in Big Boat

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Adrian Warren

Scallywag, the big challenger to Wild Oats XI in the 2016 Sydney to Hobart, plans to use the Big Boat Challenge to see if it's strengthened a weakness from the last time the supermaxis clashed.

Formerly known as Ragamuffin 100, the boat finished third across the line in the Sydney to Hobart in 2014 and second in 2015.

Bought in May by Hong Kong-based Seng Huang Lee from octogenarian sailing icon, Syd Fischer, Scallywag last clashed with Wild Oats XI at Hamilton Island Race Week in August, with mixed results.

"We found we had a couple of weaknesses there in our sail inventory, so we've designed and built some new sails to fix that area," Scallywag skipper David Witt told AAP on Monday.

"Hopefully, we will get that angle of sail where we will have our new sail on and see how strong we've made our weakness."

Unlike last year's Big Boat Challenge, Wild Oats XI will have pretty much its full crew contesting the sprint around Sydney Harbour on Tuesday.

The majestic supermaxi has taken line honours eight times in the Big Boat Challenge and Sydney to Hobart.

It will be joined on the start line off Steele Point, by a third Sydney to Hobart supermaxi entrant, Anthony Bell's Perpetual LOYAL.

Bell usually has a sprinkling of sport and media celebrities among his crew, but this year has gone more for proven sailors including Tom Slingsby and Chris Nicholson.

The fourth Sydney to Hobart maximum length entrant, Ludde Ingvall's CQS, won't contest Tuesday's race.

However, the Big Boat Challenge fleet includes the 80-foot Beau Geste and two Volvo 70s, Black Jack and Maserati.

Rupert Henry's highly fancied Sydney to Hobart handicap chance Chinese Whisper is the 62-foot minnow among the big boats.

"We're the baby of the fleet but we'll be doing our best," Henry said.

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