Wild Oats XI loses out to Black Jack despite royalty on board
Queensland-based super-maxi Black Jack has sent a warning to the Sydney to Hobart fleet, winning the final lead-up event ahead of the Boxing Day start.
Wild Oats XI had won every edition of the Big Boat Challenge since 2009, but could only manage second place.
This year, Wild Oats XI added royalty to its crew, with Princess Mary of Denmark joining the team.
Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards said it was a "privilege" to have Princess Mary on board.
"It's an opportunity to show them our beautiful harbour," Richards said.
At one point, Princess Mary was seen at the helm of the eight-time Sydney to Hobart line honours winner.
"I think that was the fastest part of the day," Richards said.
Black Jack targets main event
Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford said it was a pleasing performance from his team.
"This is the end of a long period of work for us and to take Wild Oats on, and ultimately beat them, not many people have done that," Bradford said.
He said his crew was working towards winning the Sydney to Hobart, but a win would be reliant on favourable conditions.
"We've done a lot of work on the weather over the years and we think we've put ourselves in the right spot," Bradford said.
"But, we're not going to know until [January] 28, hopefully the 29th because that means it'll be a slow race and will suit us."
The fleet was smaller than normal this year, with 100 footers Black Jack and Wild Oats XI the only super-maxis competing.
They were joined by the smaller Wild Oats X and Hong Kong entry Beau Geste.
However, super-maxi InfoTrack, which was not competing today, was spotted sailing nearby.
Christian Beck's team is clearly keeping its preparations under wraps ahead of the Blue Water classic.
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