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Wild Oats XI wins Sydney to GC yacht race

AAP logoAAP 1/08/2016 By Adrian Warren

Eight-time Sydney to Hobart line honours winner Wild Oats XI has made a triumphant return to the water by crossing first in the Sydney to Gold Coast race.

Competing in its first race since retiring from the Sydney to Hobart in 2015, the famed supermaxi on Monday completed the 384-nautical mile race in two days, one minute 16 seconds.

The mostly light and variable winds ensured the boat's 2012 record of 22 hours 3 minutes 43 seconds was never in danger.

"It seemed to take forever," Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards said.

"It was really good coming out of a six-month break from sailing. It was a constructive exercise.

"The weather allowed us to do a lot of testing."

The win comes just a few days after 2015 Sydney to Hobart line honours winner and rival supermaxi Comanche set an unofficial monohull transatlantic record of five days 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds at an average speed of 21.44 knots.

The mark, which has to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council, betters by more than a day the mark of six days, 17 hours 52 minutes 39 seconds set in 2003 by Mari Cha IV.

The Comanche crew contained four Australians, including boat captain Casey Smith.

"Now we have got the 24-hours record, the Sydney Hobart, and now the transatlantic," Smith said.

"What a boat. Awesome!"

At the other end of the yachting spectrum, the 11-month Clipper Round the World yacht race, contested mainly by amateur sailors, finished in London at the weekend.

Sydney's Wendy Tuck skippered the Da Nang Viet Nam boat into seventh out of the 12 yachts in a race that took in several countries and spanned more than 40,000 nautical miles.

"I am so proud of my team. They started as novices and now should be proud of what they have accomplished, tackling the worst conditions Mother Nature could throw up," Tuck said.

"We have experienced everything from hurricanes and a dramatic Pacific Ocean storm, which knocked our yacht down in the Pacific and meant we had to limp into Seattle.

"I have never seen conditions like it and hope to never again."

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