Perpetual Loyal smashes Sydney to Hobart race record
SYDNEY skipper Anthony Bell and his underdog Perpetual Loyal crew have reclaimed the line honour trophy for Australia while racing into history as the fastest yacht to win the Sydney to Hobart by smashing the old record of a rival.
The 100-footer sailed across the finish line on the Derwent River at 2.31am to put her name into ocean racing history.
This saw her slash almost five hours off the record as she covered the course in one day 13hrs 31min 20 sec.
"I will never get sick of saying this; race record breaker," said delighted skipper Bell.
"It really doesn't get much better than this. To do something so special with a crew so special is something else. It was a great race and we had a great time. What a morning."
Bell confirmed he would not be returning to defend his Sydney to Hobart line honours title.
"We have called last drinks," said Bell, who won his first Sydney to Hobart on a different boat in 2011.
With her sails lit up by spotlight and camera flashes, around 24 boats braved a chilly Hobart morning on the river to witness the historic feat.
"Don't write us off, We have a few tricks up our sleeve," Bell warned just prior to the 1pm start of the 628 nautical mile race on Boxing Day.
Under the cover of darkness, the supermaxi with a crew of locals and internationals - including numerous members of the US Comanche team which won last year - raced to her off record win.
She held off a concerted attack from New Zealand boat Giacomo to take the victory - finishing almost five hours ahead of the 7.23am deadline to beat Wild Oats' 2012 record of one day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
Ironically, around an hour earlier the Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats had motored into Eden on the NSW far south coast after pulling out of the Sydney to Hobart on Tuesday with a mechanical issue.
The victory was one for the underdogs with Wild Oats and Scallywag more highly rated than Bell and his team to win this year in the best conditions the race has witnessed in recent memory.
But Bell promised his supermaxi would surprise and it did - delivering the Sydney accountant his second line honours win in one of the most famous ocean races.
It was in stark contrast to a year ago when Bell and his team were sent ton the sidelines with race-ending boat damage.
"I never want to experience a feeling like that again," he said.
This morning, well before daylight, he in fact experienced the opposite with the elated skipper beaming as he crossed the finish line with his record-breaking team.