SUPER-maxi Wild Oats XI has overcome mechanical problems to lead the Sydney to Hobart fleet after the first night of racing on the open sea.
A problem with the main sheet's hydraulic motor could not stop Wild Oats XI taking a seven nautical mile lead early Tuesday morning.
Wild Oats XI led the fleet out of Sydney Harbour, closely followed by the other main contenders - Investec Loyal, Wild Thing and Lahana - of the 628-nautical-mile race.
However, rough seas battered the fleet on its way down the south coast, with 30 knot winds generating pounding waves.
But despite the conditions, only one yacht has retired from the race, a broken gooseneck sending Sydney boat Celestial home.