Wild Oats XI retains Sydney Hobart win

Published on December 28th, 2018

(December 29, 2018) – When Wild Oats XI took the elapsed title of the 628 nautical mile Sydney Hobart Race, her time of 1 day 19 hours 7 minutes 21 seconds was closely matched by the fleet. Second across the line was Peter Harburg’s Black Jack in 1d 19h 35m 6s, followed by the Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant owned Comanche in 1d 19h 36m 9s and then InfoTrack, owned by Christian Beck, in 1d 19h 49m 31s.

It was a thrilling finale in which the only issue was the uncertainty that followed the concerns of Harburg that Wild Oats XI had its Automated Identification System (AIS) transponder off.

AIS was introduced this year as a mandatory requirement to improve the safety of the race, and while its purpose is as a navigation and safety instrument, it provides critical tactical information when competing boats are within range of each other.

Harburg said he would not formally protest, but when the Race Committee received a report from Harburg advising that Wild Oats XI’s AIS had not transmitted throughout the course, their investigation believed there had been a breach of S.I. 11.4 in respect of Special Regulation 4.09 (a):

However, following a protest against Wild Oats XI by the Race Committee of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which was held by the International Jury at Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania today, it was found that the protest was invalid and so Wild Oats XI retains her line honours crown.

1. The Race Committee’s investigation and subsequent protest arose from the report from the owner of Black Jack, a competitor in the Race and therefore a person with a conflict of interest within the meaning of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).

2. The Race Committee’s investigation was prudent, however in these circumstances, for the protest to be valid under the Racing Rules of Sailing, a competitor with information about a potential rule breach must lodge the protest.

Rules that apply: RRS60.2 (a), Definitions – Conflict of Interest. Click links or see rules below:

This is the second year in a row with Wild Oats XI’s involvement in a protest. In 2018, an incident between Comanche and Wild Oats X, shortly after the start, earned the later a one hour penalty which shifted line honors and the race record to Comanche.


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Background: Eight-five yachts will be chasing line honours and the overall Tattersall Cup win in the 628nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which starts December 26, 2018. From Sydney Harbour, the fleet sails out into the Tasman Sea, down the south-east coast of mainland Australia, across Bass Strait (which divides the mainland from the island State of Tasmania), then down the east coast of Tasmania. At Tasman Island the fleet turns right into Storm Bay for the final sail up the Derwent River to the historic port city of Hobart.

Source: RSHYR

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