Wild Oats XI overhauled LDV Comanche in the Derwent River late Wednesday night to claim a thrilling line honours Sydney to Hobart victory, shaving more than four hours off Perpetual Loyal’s race record.
But second-placed LDV Comanche has launched a protest against the now nine-time race winner following a near collision between the two yachts just outside Sydney Heads shortly after the start on Boxing Day. A time penalty may still not be enough to overturn the placings.
Disciplinary action against Wild Oats XI would likely incur a minimum five-minute time penalty. An international jury, which could hear the case as early as Thursday, can impose a penalty stiffer than five minutes but that still may not be enough to reverse the placings such was the shift in fortunes both supermaxis underwent on the Derwent.
Had Wild Oats XI performed a 720-degree penalty turn in the hours following the near collision with LDV Comanche, that would have been taken as adequate punishment.
But navigator Ian Burns confirmed just hours after the incident that his crew had discussed taking the penalty turn, but decided against the action believing there was no infraction.
LDV Comanche led most of the race and was first into Storm Bay with a three-nautical mile lead before the sail northwest to Hobart where the northeasterly wind became more of a hindrance than a help.
The wind died down once they entered the Derwent, allowing Wild Oats XI to orchestrate one final fling to the line and she passed LDV Comanche just south of Opossum Bay, finishing more than one nautical mile clear.
It was enough to ensure they won back their race record set in 2012 before Perpetual Loyal’s blistering performance last year. Her unofficial time of one day, eight hours, 48 minutes and 50 seconds took four hours, 42 minutes and 30 seconds off Perpetual Loyal’s 2016 record.
Peter Harburg’s Black Jack entered Storm Bay a clear third with fellow supermaxi Infotrack narrowly clear of Beau Geste in fourth spot. All five yachts, plus last year’s winner Wizard (nee Giacomo) spent Wednesday camped inside Perpetual Loyal’s record time.
“Last year there was a bit of a transition on the first night, it got a bit soft before it came away from the nor’east or the east while this year they just haven’t stopped, they’ve just been absolutely percolating it, the big boats 20 knots plus all the way through,” veteran ocean sailor Peter Shipway said.
“Twelve hours into the race [last year] they were only doing 11 knots. They slowed down that first night as I’m recalling and about midnight last year Loyal was only doing six knots.
“That’s the difference this year, the breeze was lighter at the start but it’s just gradually freshened all the way through. It kept them moving last night and has certainly kept them moving today.”
The frantic finish was one of the most exciting the race has ever produced, although it was almost overshadowed when a crew member of Invictus Games 2018 Down Under was thrown overboard at roughly 5pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Fellow clipper Hotelplanner南京夜网 was in the vicinity of the incident and hauled the fallen sailor aboard their boat within 15 minutes of their tumbling into the open ocean.
The victim suffered superficial scratches but was in good enough health to resume sailing after being medically assessed, and was soon transferred back to Invictus Games 2018 Down Under. Hobart: @WildOatsXI overtakes Comanche in the Derwent to take line honours in the 2017 Sydney Hobart. @[email protected]@[email protected]#RolexSydneyHobart#7Newspic.twitter南京夜网/Uz5riQ5SxN??? 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) December 27, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.