Wild Oats XI wins Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour

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SYDNEY (AP) — Eight-time Sydney-to-Hobart race winner Wild Oats XI has won the annual Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour, the traditional leadup to the blue water classic.

The 30-meter (100-foot) Australian-owned maxi yacht has undergone extensive modification since it won the 628 nautical mile Sydney-to-Hobart race last year. The yacht was cut in half and a new bow section fitted with an aim to increase the yacht's speed as it faces challenges from newer, high-tech maxis.

Wild Oats showed that new-found speed Tuesday when it won the Big Boat Challenge from U.S. -owned Rambler " likely its main challenger for line honors in the next Sydney-to-Hobart, which starts Dec. 26 " and the Australian yachts Perpetual Loyal and Ragamuffin 100.

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