Perpetual Loyal wins Sydney-Hobart race in record time

Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:56pm EST
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's Perpetual Loyal won the 72nd edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in a record time of one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds on Wednesday.

The super maxi, owned and skippered by Anthony Bell, crossed the finish line in Hobart in the early hours of the morning to take four hours, 51 minutes, 52 seconds off the previous mark set by Wild Oats XI four years ago.

Wild Oats XI, which had been chasing a record ninth line honors victory, suffered a broken hydraulic ram and dropped out of the race while leading on Tuesday, leaving Perpetual Loyal clear to sail across the Bass Strait to victory.

Bell said he thought his boat would have had a shot at winning even if Wild Oats XI had not broken down.

"This is one for the true believers," he told reporters in Hobart. "I don't think anyone expected us to do well in this race, the bookies certainly didn't ... we came out of the blocks and we raced one hell of a race. We were brave and stuck to the course."

New Zealand's Volvo 70 Giacomo, owned and skippered by Jim Delegat whose two teenage sons were among the crew, finished second some two hours after Perpetual Loyal, just ahead of Hong Kong's Scallywag in third place.

Bell won line honors on Scallywag, then known as Investec Loyal, in 2011 but failed to finish on Perpetual Loyal in 2014 and 2015.

The multi-millionaire accountant to a string of Australian celebrities said he had no intention of defending the title on the boat next year, however.

"With all my heart, no," Bell said before being thrown into the harbor at Constitution Dock by his crew.   Continued...

The yacht Perpetual Loyal sails up the Derwent River on its way to setting a new record finishing time in the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht race in Hobart, Australia, early December 28, 2016.    AAP/Rob Blakers/via REUTERS