Loyal returns for 2017 race

Sydney to Hobart record-breaker Loyal returns for 2017 race with new owner.

IT’S the fastest yacht in the history of the Sydney to Hobart but there won’t be a celebrity sailor in sight when the 100-foot supermaxi Loyal returns to defend her line honours crown with a new owner, name and crew.

Sydney businessman Anthony Bell skippered the yacht to a new race record in the Australian classic a year ago for his second fastest time win in the bluewater race.

Bell and his crew, which in previous races had boasted a string of television and sporting celebrities including Karl Stefanovic, Anthony Minichello and Sally Fitzgibbons, covered the 628 nautical mile course in just one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds — slashing 4hrs 51min 52 second off the old race record set by rival Wild Oats back in 2012.

Now technology entrepreneur Christian Beck has bought the 100-footer and confirmed he will race south this year on the renamed InfoTrack as part of an expected 100 plus strong fleet.

Aboard the yacht will both professional sailors and employees and business acquaintances of Beck’s.

”I’ve always wanted to do the Sydney to Hobart. The idea of it has always really appealed,’’ Beck said.

The Sydney businessman said he has originally been looking to purchase a 52-footer to race to Hobart but got a “good deal’’ to buy the supermaxi.

At the close of entry on Monday, 110 boats had entered to race the 73rd Sydney to Hobart with the usual attrition race in the lead-up to the Boxing Day start around 10 entries.