Saturday, April 21, 2018
Europe

Wild Oats struck by lightning in major blow to Sydney to Hobart preparations

Wild Oats XI's Sydney to Hobart preparations have been dealt a major blow after the boat was struck by lightning.

The supermaxi was out of the water and in its cradle at Sydney's Woolwich dock on Sunday morning, when a bolt of lightning struck its 45-metre carbon fibre mast.

A number of the boat's electronic instruments were damaged.

The boat will be put through its paces today to determine whether there's any damage to its rigging.

In a statement, owner Sandy Oatley said it was a major blow for the team on the eve of the Sydney to Hobart race.

"However, I'm sure our great team will have everything ready for the start on Boxing Day," Oatley said.

"There is no stopping them."

Fellow supermaxi Black Jack has offered Wild Oats XI some of its own equipment.

"That's the spirit that exists at this level of ocean racing," Sandy Oatley said.

"We might be arch rivals on the race course, but we're all supportive of each other when necessary."

Wild Oats XI's skipper Mark Richards said he hoped the yacht's misfortune had come early this year.

"I'd like to think that this is the third strike when it comes to bad luck for Wild Oats XI in the Hobart race," Richards said.

"Two years ago the mainsail shredded in a storm; last year the canting keel hydraulic system keel failed, and now we've been hit from the heavens."

Original Article

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