Flying start ... Wild Oats XI leads the start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Wild Oats XI made a scorching start to her quest for a sixth Sydney to Hobart line honours crown, while her major rivals endured a horror day.
Bob Oatley's super maxi flew out of the blocks on Sydney Harbour on Wednesday, quickly surging to a good lead in south easterly breezes of around 15 knots.
She shot away from last year's line honours winner Ragamuffin Loyal, who broke the start, though race officials were meeting to review that situation. Ragamuffin Loyal did not go back and do a penalty turn at the time.
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Day 1
An aerial photo of the start of the 2012 Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race as the fleet head south along the NSW coast towards Tasmania's Constitution Dock. Photo: Brendan Esposito
At least Ragamuffin Loyal made it to the start, something that was denied fellow super maxi and 2003 line honours winner Wild Thing.
The race committee ruled her out of the race three hours before the start after failing to receive some documentation.
Back on the course, the next boats through the Heads were Black Jack, Lahana, Loki and Ichi Ban.
Previous handicap winner Quest appeared to be having some problems and was lagging well down the fleet.
The boats were set for a bumpy afternoon as they ploughed their way through choppy seas under both cloudy and sunny skies.