Yachting: Wild Rose declared overall Sydney to Hobart winner

Yachting: Wild Rose declared overall Sydney to Hobart winner
Wild Rose competing during the Sydney to Hobart yacht Race.

SYDNEY - The 43-foot yacht Wild Rose was Tuesday named the overall winner of the Sydney to Hobart race, following doubts about the results after some boats diverted to search for a crashed light plane.

Supermaxi Wild Oats XI on Sunday won a record eighth line honours, becoming the most successful yacht in the history of the 628 nautical mile (1,163km) competition when it crossed the line in two days, two hours, three minutes and 26 seconds late Monday.

Wild Rose, which was also formerly named Wild Oats, won the handicap honours with a corrected race time of three days, 10 hours, 47 minutes and 43 seconds.

The handicap honours take into account the size, weight and length of each boat and the time they took to complete the race.

Skipper Roger Hickman, who was racing in the gruelling event for the 38th time, said his purchase of the 29-year-old yacht would not have happened without the help of Wild Oats XI's owner Bob Oatley, who previously owned Wild Rose.

"I feel lucky and privileged to have Bob Oatley's boat," Hickman, who also recorded his third handicap win, said.

"I did three Hobarts with Bob on this boat. When I bought the boat from him in 1991, he almost gave it to me."

Hickman changed the boat's name from Wild Oats to Wild Rose in 1993 after its first victory that year.

"She's absolutely the best. She was built by John McConaghy and he said to me repeatedly, 'This is his absolute best boat, the best I ever built'," Hickman said.

"Bob Oatley gave McConaghy a blank cheque and said, 'build me the best boat and name it' so McConaghy did and that's where the Wild Oats came from.

"Its a good win for little boats. It just keeps the interest if one can win every 10 years or so. I will dedicate this race to them, they add to the adventure and character of the race."

Several yachts that had been in contention to take the handicap honours, such as Love & War and Enchantress, were late Monday diverted to help search for a light plane that crashed into the water while reportedly taking photographs of the race.

The single-engine Cessna, carrying two men aged 29 and 61, plunged nose-first into the water, with police saying Tuesday a headrest and aviation headphones had so far been found.

The results were delayed amid a review following the diversions before Wild Rose's win was confirmed.

Wild Oats XI, one of five supermaxis - the biggest and fastest yachts - in this year's race was first across the line every year from 2005 to 2008 and in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

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