A sailing rivalry between the Black Jack group and the Oatley family, which started almost a decade ago, is enjoying a new lease of life heading into the Sydney Hobart.
Supermaxis Wild Oats XI and Black Jack have raced against each other 11 times this year, with the former edging the line honours six to five.
It marked the resumption of a rivalry which first saw the two groups race regularly in boats two-thirds the length of their current vessels.
Back then, it was Wild Oats X up against an earlier Black Jack.
“We raced against each other in 66-footers a few years ago and it was just fantastic racing,” Black Jack’s owner Peter Harburg said.
“Wild Oats (XI) has ruled the waves here for so many years now and it’so good be able to come and compete with them.”
There wasn’t a lot between the earlier boats either, according to Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford.
“With those guys we’ve got a healthy respect and we’ve also got a fair bit of history,” he told AAP.
“We started this project back in 2008 with a Reichel-Pugh 66 and they had Wild Oats X.
“I think in that period for the next few years we raced them 50 times and won 25 each, I don’t know the exact numbers, maybe we won 26 and they won 24.
“But it was a very even match back then and it’s really just fantastic to be sailing against them.
“To be back racing another boat that’s very similar is really rewarding and challenging.”
Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards is equally appreciative of the rivalry.
“That started about 10 years ago, we just keep throwing petrol on the fire the two of us,” he said.
“We were 66 footers and now we’re 100 footers, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.”
Both teams have an enormous amount of respect for each other.
“On the shore we’re all good mates and get on well, but on the water it’s down to business and we really enjoy that,” Richards said.
Richards believes the rivalry and the competitiveness it breeds will benefit both camps heading into the 628 nautical mile race to Hobart.
“Like when Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats used to sail against each other, or the 66s, you just slowly take each other to a whole other level,” he said.
“I think this year’s Hobart will be a big advantage for the two boats just because of that factor, that we’re both pushing each other along all year and come Boxing Day I think both boats will be better for it.”