28 Dec 2008

Close finish looms in Hobart

10:54 am on 28 December 2008

It's still a close race in the finishing stages of the 64th Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

At 6.30am (AEDT) on Sunday, Wild Oats XI led Skandia by 15 nautical miles with less than 60 nautical miles to go to the finish.

Wild Oats XI entered the Derwent River after rounding Tasman Island at about 5.40am (AEDT).

Race officials say skipper Mark Richards is expected to cross the finish line at about 9.30am (AEDT).

He needed to cross the line in Hobart before 7.40am (AEDT) to beat the race record of 1 day 18 hours 40 minutes and 10 seconds.

Wild Oats XI has won the event for three consecutive years and is bidding for a record fourth consecutive victory.

The ABC reports Wild Oats XI struck minor trouble on Saturday night when it hit a two-metre shark and had to stop to allow the shark to untangle itself from the rudder of the yacht.

In the race for handicap honours, Cougar II has pulled ahead of Quest.

A fleet of 100 left Sydney on Boxing Day.