Eight Bells: Bob Oatley

Well known yachtsman and owner of the iconic Australian supermaxi Wild Oats XI has passed away at the age of 87.

Wild Oats XI was forced to retire during the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart, but will be back next year to honor the Oatley name.Stefano Gattini

Bob Oatley, a giant in Australian winemaking, tourism and yachting, has died, aged 87.

Oatley, who pioneered winemaking in the Hunter Valley and laid the foundations for the global Oatley Wines empire, diversified the family-run business into tourism in 2003 when he bought the Hamilton Island resort.

Oatley was well known in the sailing community for his contributions to the Australian Olympic team, but also his iconic supermaxi Wild Oats XI. Wild Oats has taken line honours in the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race an incredible eight times, and currently holds the record for fastest time as set in 2012.

Oatley was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Australia Day honours for his distinguished service to the Australian wine and tourism industries, to the sport of yacht racing, and to the community as a supporter of medical research and visual arts organisations.

The Wild Oats team will continue to sail and race in the Sydney Hobart to honor Mr. Oatley and continue his name.