Arriving in Hobart at 02:31.20 on Wednesday 28 December, Anthony Bell’s 100 foot Maxi, Perpetual LOYAL, has set a new race record of one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes, 20 seconds at the Rolex Sydney Hobart, securing line honours in the 72nd edition.
Perpetual LOYAL’s incredible time is 4 hours, 51 minutes, 52 seconds faster than the 2012 record set by Wild Oats XI, the 12th record since the race started in 1945.
Perpetual LOYAL's New Race Record - Watch the Video Here:YouTube
Perpetual LOYAL set out on the 628nm race with high hopes and an impressive start as the first yacht to pass Sydney Heads. She lost the lead to the masterful Wild Oats XI during the passage down the New South Wales coast of the Tasman Sea, but Bell’s crew took advantage of the leaders' hydraulic ram failure nearly 21 hours into the race.
“We were probably neck and neck with Wild Oats, maybe a mile away, when it happened,” explained Bell. “It was sad to see them break. We would like to have played on against them...but that’s racing.”
Bell and his 18 crew includes 25-time Rolex Sydney Hobart campaigner Brad Kellett and a number of highy experienced sailors including Pablo Arrarte and Justin Clougher - who won line honours onboard the American yacht Comanche in 2015 - and Tom Slingsby, Olympic gold medallist and Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2010.
“Going into the race we had nothing to lose. We came out of the blocks and raced one hell of a race. It was never part of our plans to break the race record but it’s an awesome thing to have done.” said Bell.
As explained by Perpetual LOYAL's navigator, Tom Addis, part of the Wild Oats XI crew which broke the race record in 2012,
"This is a boat which goes in certain conditions and doesn’t go in others. We had to limit the damages on the first afternoon and set ourselves up for the conditions which were going to be in our favour on the second day. We had to play a different game to Scallywag and Wild Oats where we set up for the reaching stuff. That was the key because while we didn’t lead through that, as we are not a boat that excels in getting downwind, we came out in a good position.”
“Taking nearly five hours off the race record, hopefully it will take a long time to beat!” added Slingsby.
Bell, who previously won a close battle with Wild Oats XI in 2011 on his previous LOYAL, now celebrates a second Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours success, all the sweeter given Perpetual LOYAL was forced to retire from the last two editions.
Pictured below, Bell was presented with the J.H. Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex Yacht-Master II timepiece During the line honours presentation held on Constitution Dock,