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Wild Oats won't make the same mistakes

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Adrian Warren

Wild Oats XI tactician Iain Murray is confident plenty of practice will ensure the legendary supermaxi doesn't suffer the same fate that wrecked her Sydney to Hobart campaign last year

The 100-foot colossus, which has won line honours in the race a record eight times, was forced to retire in 2015 following sail damage.

Skipper Mark Richards attributed the problem to crew issues rather than any technical failings and Murray revealed there had been plenty of post-race analysis of what went wrong.

"We analysed it in detail and how we'd fix it," said Murray, who has been part of all 11 of the boat's previous Sydney-Hobart campaigns.

"We've made those changes and made the systems more foolproof, and we've gone out and we've practised and we've practised and we've practised..

"We certainly have policies and protocols on board to make sure we'll never get ourselves into that position."

Murray said a number of factors contributed to the errors .which ended his boat's duel with American supermaxi Comanche, which went on to take line honours.

"There was a whole lot of circumstances that compiled into a moment that we made some mistakes," Murray said.

"We have prided ourselves on keeping it simple and doing the simple things well and we have a good track record of doing that.

"But we didn't in this particular instance. I think it was partly from the pressure of having Comanche and her being ahead of us in the race at the time.

"We were trying to maximise a little bit of light wind before a big storm, there was a pre-frontal storm that caught us out early, not only us, it caught everyone early.

'But we had not sort of hunkered the boat down adequately for us to deal with.

"You've got to remember how difficult it was out there, you couldn't see the front of the boat for rain.

"We just didn't handle it as well as we should have."

Comanche, which finished second across the line to Wild Oats XI in 2014, isn't racing this year.

Her absence leaves the biggest threat to Murray's boat to come from three other supermaxis, Perpetual LOYAL, Scallywag and CQS.

'We would like to sail against Comanche every year, we welcome the opportunity to prove ourselves against the best competition that we can," Murray said

"But she's not here and these other guys have all put a lot of work into their boats since last year and they are not going out there to make up the numbers."

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