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Wild Oats XI off to a flyer

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Flying start ... Wild Oats XI leads the start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

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.

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. Click for more photos

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Day 1

The Rolex Sydney to Hobart is often described as the most gruelling long ocean race in the world. The fleet starts in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day for a 628 nautical mile journey to Tasmania. Selected images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH 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.

AAP

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