UPDATE: WILD Oats takes advantage of the shock absence of rival maxi Wild Thing to lead the Sydney-Hobart field out of heads.
With skipper Mark Richards calling the shots, the sleek racing machine elected to hug the northern shoreline off Chowder Bay beating into a fresh southerly, to steam to the front once the start cannon went at 1pm, The Australian reports.
It was never headed to reach the sea mark in a tick under 11 minutes.
Second out of the heads on a similar starboard tack to Wild Oats XI was Ragamuffin Loyal, with the ageless Syd Fischer at the helm. At 85 this is Fischer's 44th trip to Tasmania.
Both of the 100-foot super maxis, relishing the fresh southerly which blew to 20 knots, were out of the heads in under the old record.
Then followed the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron entry, Black Jack, which was previously known as Stark Raving Mad, with skipper Mark Bradford aboard, a year after he was in the afterguard of Investec Loyal which took line honours last year.
On shore hundreds of thousands of spectators packed every available site, while on the water hundreds of spectators followed the 76 entries down the harbour.
The only controversy at the start had to do with Ragmuffin Loyal allegedly breaking the start, with the race committee reviewing television footage.
Given the prevailing the conditions, Wild Oats XI's existing race record of one day 18hrs 40mins 10 secs set back in 2005 remains on target.
But for Bob Oatley's supermaxi to do it, she would need to reach Hobart before 7.40am on Friday.
Read more at The Australian.