double threat

Christmas Day in Sydney was uncharacteristically overcast and cold. There was a solid 10-15 knots of Southerly – exactly what the 1,000 or so sailors waiting to start the Sydney-Hobart Race tomorrow don’t want.
The forecast for Boxing Day is better – a moderate Easterly – but there will still be a fair-sized swell offshore to challenge the fleet as they round Sydney Heads and turn South for the next 600 miles.
The two most famous local entrants – Wild Oats X and Wild Oats XI – made a unique sight today, straining at their docklines alongside each other at Woolwich Dock. This will be the first time the two Reichel-Pugh speedsters have raced each other to Hobart. The 100–footer is sure to outpace its older 66–foot brother, but the smaller boat is a realistic handicap contender while WOXI has been modified so many times that she now carries a hugely severe rating.
Until this year the two yachts have rarely been seen together, despite being owned by the same family. They both sailed at Hamilton Island Race Week this year, but while Wild Oats X has mainly been the Oatley’s “day boat” for twilight racing on Pittwater, north of Sydney, the supermaxi WOXI spends most of the year hauled out in the shed and only comes out to play for the major events.
And this may be the last time the two yachts, always immaculately presented in their matching silver-and-red livery, will be together in Australian waters. There have been persistent dockside rumours that the 100-footer is being discreetly offered for sale on international markets. – Anarchist David.