With her distinctive green hull glistening in the fading afternoon sunlight, Nicorette crossed the finish line at 19:10:17 to take line honours in the 23rd Strathfield Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Offshore race.
A flotilla of small boats greeted her and locals and holidaymakers alike cheered and clapped loudly as she crossed the line.
Skipper Ludde INGVALL was tired but relieved after one of the longest weeks in his sailing career. His 83-foot maxi was close behind Skandia and Zana in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race crossing Bass Strait when the crew discovered hairline fractures in the front rudder (canard) assembly.
Ludde retired the boat to Eden and at a crew meeting the decision was made to replace the complete canard and to enter the Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race.
The boat was returned to Sydney and the crew worked around the clock to fit a totally new rudder assembly getting to the start line only 20 minutes before the race started on Friday 2nd January.
The redesign of the front rudder (canard) paid immediate dividends when it became apparent soon after the start that Nicorette was now significantly faster than she had been over the previous three months. She led last years line honours winner Wild Oats for the entire race. Coffs Harbour locals welcomed Ludde and his team who were presented with the traditional line honours bell by Coffs harbour Councillor Bill WOOD.
The race record holder Wild Oats and current handicap leader Wild Oats finished shortly after dark at 20:15:34.
Skipper Mark RICHARDS and his crew congratulated Nicorette on their win explaining "It has been a tough race for both crews as we both tacked more than 100 times over the race course."
While the IRC handicap cannot be determined until the bulk of the fleet reaches Coffs Harbour, it does appear Wild Oats will retain her unbeaten handicap record.
Since her launch in 2002 she has won Hamilton Island Race Week, the RPAYC Joico Regatta the Admiral's Cup.
The next boat, locally sponsored Coffs Harbour Challenger, has a revised ETA of around 5.00am tomorrow morning with the majority of the fleet due in from 7.00am.