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Sports

Perpetual Loyal smashes Sydney to Hobart sailing record

The blue water classic sets off from the Australian mainland and ends in Tasmania. Sailing teams face grueling conditions while crossing a 1,100-kilometer stretch of dangerous waters.

Australian yacht Perpetual Loyal obliterated the record for the annual Sydney to Hobart sailing race early Wednesday morning.

The Sydney-based supermaxi reached Hobart's Constitution Dock in 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes, and 20 seconds - almost five hours faster than the 2012 record.

"We raced one hell of a race," Skipper Anthony Bell told awaiting reporters.

"I don't think anyone expected us to do well in this race, the bookies certainly didn't," national broadcaster ABC reported him saying.

"Mission accomplished! Huge congrats to the Perpetual Loyal crew winning line honors," the team's official Twitter account posted, after the boat crossed the line at 2:41 a.m. local time.

Anthony Bell’s 'Perpetual Loyal' pictured following the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (picture-alliance/Pacific Press)

It was the second line honor victory for Bell

Bell and his 18-member crew took line honors in the grueling 1,163-kilometer (628-nautical-mile) race after favorite Wild Oats pulled out for the second consecutive year.

Wild Oats was in the lead with freshening northerly winds, but its hydraulic keel control mechanism failed in the middle of the Bass Strait.

Wild Oats skipper Mark Richards made the call to retire from the race on Tuesday, citing the safety of his crew.

It was the second time Bell, the head of an accountancy firm, took out line honors in the race, after his winning 2011 debut with Investec Loyal.

The race is notorious for dangerous weather. In 1998 six sailors died in a severe storm that led to 55 people being rescued and just 44 of the 115 boats finishing.

Teams from the US, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Britain, Germany, South Korea and Russia raced in this year's 72nd edition.

Crews compete for line honors and handicap victories in the race.

aw/kms (AFP, dpa)

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