Iain Murray and Ian ‘Fresh’ Burns bested Tom Slingsby and Stan Honey for line honors in the Sydney-Hobart race.
Murray and Burns, aboard Wild Oats X!, were first across the finishing line in Hobart, coming from behind to beat rookie Slingsby and Honey on Perpetual LOYAL.
“Wild Oats is a bit of an old girl now…” Iain Murray told the media after finishing. “For her to stand up and deliver is special really. This boat and the crew have been around a long time and to keep improving the boat is a nice thing to do.
“I’m sure if you started with a clean sheet of paper now you wouldn’t build this boat but she’s a good all-round boat. She isn’t great down-wind or a record breaker or a reaching boat; she is a good all-round boat and coupled with that she has a great, consistent crew that generally gets the most out of her.”
Before the race, Murray had said he was worried about the competition, pointing to at least three or four other boats that he felt could beat them in the right conditions. But in the end, it was Wild Oats taking line honors for the seventh time, equaling the race record.
“Boats like Perpetual LOYAL have come with a big reputation: essentially a new boat with considerable modifications to bring her right up to speed. And Beau Geste, fresh off the drawing board, threatened to deliver a lot.
“But we are here.
“I think everyone in the crew was on their game this year. In the nine races this boat has done this was by far the best.”
The Wild Oats project is led by Bob Oatley, who is also the driving force between Team Australia, the challenger of record for the 35th America’s Cup. Last month, Oatley announced Murray would be CEO of Team Australia.