Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT
It was something like a cliffhanger. When five-time Line Honours winner Wild Oats XI sailed into Hobart early last night at he finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, controversy shrouded her as she slipped into Hobart’s Constitution Dock. A protest lodged against the boat by the event Race Committee, prior to the finish, left the outcome uncertain. But this afternoon, after the International Jury met to hear the facts, the protest was dismissed and Wild Oats XI was announced as the official Line Honours winner.
So, on a bluebird sky day in the pleasant port of Hobart the accolades and awards for the well-deserved supermaxi, and her crew, could finally get underway. With a pleasant northwest breeze blowing – in stark contrast to the howling gales the days preceding – Lord Mayor of Hobart, Rob Valentine welcomed the organizers, sponsors, and competitors and an enthusiastic crowd of race fans.
CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre and Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia presented Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards with the Tattersall’s Cup and a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece for the win.
About the controversy of the protest, skipper Mark Richards said at this afternoon’s award ceremony, “Since the 1998 Rolex Sydney Hobart, which was a tragic year, it was a clear indication that safety standards needed to be brought to a new level. The CYCA and the Race Committee have done an amazing job of lifting the standard to some of the highest in the world, which I think is an amazing achievement.”
Richards continued, “As a result they have some pretty tough procedures that you must follow. It wasn’t clear to them that we had followed them, but we did and we documented it well. Once we got to shore, and the race committee received all the necessary information, and they cleared us of the protest.”
After an uncertain victory, Wild Oats XI is now the triumphant winner of five line honours wins for the classic Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Wild Oats XI holds the record for the most consecutive line honours wins – four – when she won in 2008.
Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán was also protested by the Race Committee; but, at a subsequent hearing it was found that Rán had satisfied the requirements of the rule and the protest against the 72-foot mini maxi was dismissed.
Back on the race course, as of 1400, 14 boats had finished, 55 were still racing and 18 had retired including the latest, Andrew Corletto’s 38-foot Shining Sea, which lost her rudder and was reportedly heading to St. Helens, Tasmania.
Still racing, but currently overall handicap leader is Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45, Victoire, which needs to finish by 0316 tomorrow (Dec 30) to maintain their position.
Race Tracker: Race enthusiasts can go to http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/yacht_tracker.asp for a real time tracker of yachts and their position.
Official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com
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