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Old 12-28-2017, 06:07 PM   #1
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Sydney-Hobart Protest Drama

Winners are calculated on handicap but "first across the line"(Line Honours)is highly contested. Wild Oats XI crossed 26 minutes before rival maxi LDV Comanche.
But back in Sydney Harbour, just after the start, there was a classic port/starboard incident between the boats,Comanche on starboard, Wild Oats on port.At/after the last possible moment, WI tacked to avoid Comanche but so late she "tacked in Comanche`s water". To avoid colliding with the stern of WI, the prospect of damage eliminating one or both boats from the race and crew injuries, Comanche took avoiding action by luffing and slowing. Her crew immediately called "Protest" and displayed the protest flag.
The International Jury hearing the protest post race found WI had infringed and awarded a 1 hour penalty.
Having seen the video from several angles it is an obvious simple basic rule breach, not to be expected from highly skilled race crews, or even unskilled amateurs.
WI had the option of curing its breach by performing "a 720", ie 2 full 360 degree turns but chose not to.
The penalty changed the line honours result, and that is unusual. I`m not familiar with the law of protest penalties but Comanche certainly did not lose an hour avoiding WI, the penalty must include both punitive and deterrence elements. Putting 2 boats and crews at risk is just wrong. It could include something for WI failing to take the 720 option in the face of her obvious breach, a kind of "plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity",and for no contrition, fighting the offence to the death. I do not think that whether the decision changes the result is a relevant consideration, though it must have been obvious to the Jury that it could.
Personally, I blame testosterone, and hubris. A shame, especially as the lead boats broke race records in amazingly fast racing with a strong following NE breeze which had many boats sailing at 25knots plus in near perfect conditions.
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Old 12-28-2017, 06:47 PM   #2
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Tactical error by WOXI to trigger the protest. The infringement was obvious, and elementary. Then a huge tactical error to not take a 'mea culpa' penalty and do the 720 turns! Stupidity really magnified the consequences of the error of judgement. It would have taken them a few minutes only, and when the race is 1-2 days duration there is ample time to out-sail the competitor and win. No sympathy for WOXI from me at all.

Of course boats such as WOXI, which cannot even be sailed without a diesel genny running 24x7 to power a whole bunch of stuff, are not true sailboats IMO.
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:14 PM   #3
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» the win, or is it? | Sailing Anarchy
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:14 PM   #4
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That makeup wearing mark Richards should know the rules by now.
His display of arragonce for doing this manouver and then refusing to do a 720 got him beaten with the wanker stick IMHO and rightly so.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insequent View Post

Of course boats such as WOXI, which cannot even be sailed without a diesel genny running 24x7 to power a whole bunch of stuff, are not true sailboats IMO.
Exactly

The even funnier or sad part of it is that relatively cheap boats can be had that will outperform them.

Team Australia teamaus.net.au

In February 2013, the radical multihull set a new record of 29 hours 52 minutes and 23 seconds for sailing the famous stretch of water between Sydney and Hobart. This passage record has now been ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. Over the 630 nautical miles, Team Australia averaged 22 knots and reached a top speed of 39.6 knots.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:44 PM   #6
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That makeup wearing mark Richards should know the rules by now.
His display of arragonce for doing this manouver and then refusing to do a 720 got him beaten with the wanker stick IMHO and rightly so.
Thats great.
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:27 AM   #7
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A fair report. I think WO intended to plumb the limits of yielding way, and to give Comanche the dirtiest air possible.
I`m less sure wearing makeup contributed but regardless, I`d say WO got what she deserved.
It`s worth noting that competing maxi, Black Jack, offered WO its stock of spare interchangeable electrical and navigation equipment when WO was struck by lightning just days before the race start.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insequent View Post
Tactical error by WOXI to trigger the protest. The infringement was obvious, and elementary. Then a huge tactical error to not take a 'mea culpa' penalty and do the 720 turns! Stupidity really magnified the consequences of the error of judgement. It would have taken them a few minutes only, and when the race is 1-2 days duration there is ample time to out-sail the competitor and win. No sympathy for WOXI from me at all.

Of course boats such as WOXI, which cannot even be sailed without a diesel genny running 24x7 to power a whole bunch of stuff, are not true sailboats IMO.
Being an ex-sailor Brian, I totally agree. I could not believe that Mark Richards, the skipper of Wild Oates 11, with all his experience, made such a silly port-starboard error of judgement in the first place. Then having made it, being too proud to admit it, by doing the 720 turns that would, as you say, have taken mere minutes only, and they could still have the win and the record and with honour maintained. No sympathy here either. Anyway Comanche lead virtually the whole way from the heads to near the finish, only to be cheated of the well-earned win by becoming becalmed for a period in the Derwent. And they have manual winches as well. Poetic justice, I call it.
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:15 AM   #9
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I didn't realise Comanche has manual winches.

Like a lot of people, I feel the electrical/hydraulic motors these super maxis use strike me as crossing a line in the sand for a blue water yacht race. It may be within the rules, but the rules should never have been changed to accommodate it in the first place.

The majority of the fleet are at a huge disadvantage, it may be argued that the handicap system equalises this, however based on this logic why not open the race to catermerans as well.

It seems the race, once owned by the the amateur 'yachties' has been taken over by the 'corporate' glory boys. A bit sad for we old former rag sailors.
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