Yesterday at 1.53pm and after nearly 49 hours at sea, Melbourne maxi Australian Skandia Wild Thing rode the northeasterly breeze all the way to the finish line off Main Beach, Southport, to take line honours for the second time ever.
The 19 mostly Melbourne-based crew on board shook hands quickly after the gun was fired before they set to work lowering the huge sails and slowing the boat down.
"It was a great race and it was particularly encouraging to sail away from Grundig this morning," said owner Grant Wharington after he steered the boat over the finish line. "We thought the conditions were going to suit them but the sea breeze came in a we knew we were in good shape."
After the finish, the navigator on the line honours winner, Adrienne Cahalan, described the difficulties of this race. "It was a hard race tactically because it was light and because you have to be confident in your decisions when you are sailing on your own," she said.
Sean Langman also steered his boat over the finish line off Main Beach, crossing at 2.20pm this afternoon and gracious in defeat. "We really enjoyed the race but it wasn't our day," said Sean. "Our strategy was to stick like glue to the boat with the longest hull because it was always going to be a waterline race in these conditions."
The two boats tussled the entire 386 nautical mile race, never more than a few miles apart and occasionally only a couple of boat lengths separated them.
Once berthed at Southport Yacht Club, Langman admitted this event is his favourite race on the offshore calendar. "I have sailed the smallest boat in the fleet and been on two line honours winners, one of which was my own boat, and it's a fantastic race."
Langman also talked about next year building an 80-foot version of his skiff-like yacht, but for this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race he will just rebuild some of the weak spots in the hull.
Ian Treleaven's Volvo 60 Line 7 held onto third place to cross the finish at 2.40pm followed by Brindabella (George Snow) at 3.19pm, which is waiting at the Southport seaway for the tide to change.