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Wild Oats XI takes late lead in Sydney to Hobart race

AP

Nine-time line honors winner Wild Oats XI took a narrow lead in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race late on the first day Thursday as the five super maxis held all the top positions.

Wild Oats XI held a 1.5 nautical-mile (1.85 metric-mile) lead over Black Jack, with race record-holder Comanche in third place followed by InfoTrack and Scallywag.

InfoTrack was the first yacht out of Sydney Harbour. The yacht, which took line honors in 2016 as Perpetual Loyal, got a flying start as the race began in winds of 15 to 18 knots, or around 30 kph.

The 628 nautical-mile (775.3 metric-mile) race takes the yachts down the south coast of New South Wales and across the Bass Strait to the capital of the island state of Tasmania, Hobart.

Comanche set the race record of 1 day, 9 hours and 15 minutes while winning in 2017.

There were two early retirements among the 157 starting yachts — Faster Forward with steering problems and Hollywood Boulevard with a broken rudder.