Wild Oats XI eyes Sydney-Hobart record - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wild Oats XI eyes Sydney-Hobart record

By Adrian Warren 25/12/2007 11:28:01 AM Comments (0)

Captivated as a child by the deeds of Iain Murray and the mystique of the Sydney to Hobart, Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards could be about to inspire the next generation of young sailors by steering his boat into the history books.

His maxi has the opportunity this week to become only the second boat after Morna (1946, 47, 48) to take line honours three successive times.

With owner Bob Oatley keeping a relatively low profile, Richards has become the public face of the Wild Oats XI campaign over the last three years.

He skippers a crew containing several eminent sailors, including legendary skiff multi-world title winner Iain Murray, who was one of the yachtsmen Richards followed as a child.

"It's like family onboard our boat because we've got a close friends who have sailed," Richards said.

"Iain Murray has been an integral part of all our careers in sailing and it shows how strong the Wild Oats team is that we're still together after all these years."

Richards wouldn't speculate on how long Wild Oats XI would continue to compete after this year.

But he was excited at the possibility of equalling Morna's historic hat-trick.

"It's a massive thing, unbelievably exciting just to win one Sydney to Hobart, to win three, I couldn't explain what it would feel like, it would be sensational," Richards said.

He revealed the Sydney to Hobart had made an impression on him from an early age.

"When I was six or seven I used to be glued to the television and loved watching it," Richards said.

"There's plenty of kids aspiring to that, watching their TV screen as the big boats are charging down Sydney Harbour."

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