Allen & Ichi Ban are the overall champions
While the elapsed time records were being broken, up ahead by the big boats, Matt Allen and his crew of Gordon Maguire, navigator Will Oxley, Anthony Merrington, Tim Sellars, Stephen Thomas, James Corrie, Sean O’Rourke, Wade Morgan, Harry Bethwaite, William Sykes, Charles Kosecki, Jeremy Rae, Davin Conigrave and Craig Garnett also set a new record for a conventionally ballasted yacht (not water ballasted and not canting keel) of 1 day, 19 hours, 10 minutes and 20 seconds held by Brindabella (George Snow) in 1999 (by one hour 36 minutes) and the Under 18.5 metre yacht record set by Yendys (Geoff Ross) in 2008. .
Bob Steel's duel past winner Quest, held on for 2nd overall and missed out by 21 minutes on IRC corrected time, but the overall placing's are reversed under the ORCi rating system. After a couple years of bad luck, Tony Kirby's Ker 46 Patrice finally comes through it all, for 3rd overall and claims the daily double in Division 2.
Last years overall winner, Wizard (Ex Giacomo) now under the stewardship of Americans David & Peter Askew slotted into 4th overall. After a slow start Vincenzo Onorato's Italian Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino 32 skippered by Matteo Savelli in his absence, cracked the whip to slot into 5th overall and 3rd in ORCi to add to their globe trotting silverware.
The winners of every division and ORCi are nailed down. Only the PHS and Clipper divisions remain up for grabs. But you can guarantee that for a multitude of little races within the race, it is definitely still game on till the end.
Photo Credit to ROLEX, Studio Borlenghi, RSHYR Media
Comanche awarded line honours after protest
Like Wild Oats XI, LDV Comanche finished inside last year’s record time, so the new record is one day 9 hours 15 minutes 24 seconds. She finished 26 minutes behind Wild Oats XI, but the latter’s one hour penalty means Comanche takes line honours by 34 minutes from Wild Oats XI.
After the hearing, Jim Cooney said: “I think it’s entirely fair and reasonable that the jury acted as they did. When you’re dealing with boats of this size and this calibre, we are at the elite level of our sport, and the boats have to be conducted responsibly in fair respect of the conditions and the impact that your maneuvers might have.
“I felt very strongly that wasn’t the case,” Cooney said. “The rules are there to protect the people and the boats and if we can’t rely on that it’s a difficulty in the sport.”
Cooney said the way they won the race has not taken any gloss off the sport. “The race is about how you conduct yourself and how your crew performs and how the boat performs. We feel we sail to the best of our abilities and (to win) justified our boat’s performance and the crew’s preparation.”
Wild Oats XI’s skipper, Mark Richards and Sandy Oatley representing the Oatley family, were gracious in defeat.
Richards said, “Obviously we’re very disappointed, but the international jury had a job to do. They saw the incident the way they saw it, we saw it a little bit differently, but the result is the result and we have to respect the decision of the jury.”
Sandy Oatley added: “We’d just like to congratulate Jim Cooney and his crew for their success, and move forward.”
Photo Credit to ROLEX, Studio Borlenghi, RSHYR Media
Allen waits to see if he is No. 1
“Patrice (Tony Kirby’s Ker 46), Concubine (Jason Ward’s Mills 45 and Chutzpah, the Caprice 40 owned by Bruce Taylor, are the front runners that could spoil Allen’s party.
“I think the breeze is lightening off though, and they won’t come home as fast as we did,” Allen said, knowing his biggest pre-race threat, Quest (Bob Steel’s two-time Rolex Sydney Hobart winner) is still on the race track and no longer in a position to beat him. The same can be said of the other TP52’s and Cookson 50s in the race.
Of his 28th participation in the race, Allen, a past commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia which organises the race, commented: “This is the best Hobart race I have ever done – it was exhilarating – I reckon we surfed at 28 knots. I’ve never seen conditions like it, the closest was in 1999 – I hope we see them again.
Allen said the race did have its moments though, none more so than when they blew out the largest spinnaker on the boat. “It’ll make a nice car cover – it’s beyond repair. That left us with the A4, and I was a little nervous, because if that went too, we were going to be in trouble.”
It was one of the trickiest moments of the 628 nautical mile race, the Sydney yachtsman said. “We lost miles on the boats around us, but when the wind eased off, we caught up again. We were buried by water a lot of the way – it was an incredibly wet race and pretty intense. We were buried a lot of the time.
Their other intense moment was parking for 20 minutes at John Garrow Light. “It was a long 20 minutes,” he admitted.
“At one stage ‘Youngster’ (Anthony Merrington) was driving the boat like he’s stolen it - and Bubs (Wade Morgan) drove so hard with the A4 (second spinnaker) on. We didn’t hold back at all. Gordon (Maguire) and Will (Sykes) picked the perfect layline into Tasman Island and that was a big gain for us too.”
The Ichi Ban crew will fill in the intervening hours waiting to hear their fate by having a few drinks and partaking of the renowned local scallop pies, Allen said.
Either way, he is a happy man: “I think we broke the conventional record for a yacht our size,” he said with a smile on his face.
Oats XI claims line honours in battle on Derwent
Wild Oats XI smashed last year’s record of one day 13hrs 31mins 20secs by after crossing the Castray Esplanade finish line at 21:48:50 this evening, in the new time of one day 8hrs 48mins 50secs, taking 4hrs 42mins 30secs of Perpetual LOYAL’s time.
This a record ninth line honours for Wild Oats and a third record – nobody in the history of the race has achieved this honour before.
But will she hold on to line honours? LDV Comanche is flying the protest flag she raised after an incident after the start and then advised in the first sked she would be protesting Wild Oats XI. LDV Comanche must file her protest within six hours of finishing.
But in the meantime, Richards and his 20 crew members were celebrating their victory to huge cheers at the dock in Hobart tonight, spraying Champagne Mumm over each other as the huge crowd waited for LDV Comanche to also finish.
The J.H. Illingworth Trophy looked set to be in the hands of Jim Cooney, who recently purchased the 2015 boat dubbed the ‘aircraft carrier’ due to her girth. Boat and crew reveled in the strong north-easterly wind, but in the end, Wild Oats XI held her ground and showed her superiority in the extremely light breeze both boats found on rounding Tasman Island that at times stopped both yachts in their tracks.
There have now been three retirements in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with the Sydney yacht Wots Next the latest out, with broken rudder bearings. She is abeam of Mallacoota on the Victorian coast. Queensland boat Opt2Go Scamp is withdrawing to Eden to effect repairs to unspecified damage but she has not retired because plans to continue racing.
Already out are the German boat Rockall, which has a broken rudder. She is heading to the lee of the Victorian coast after initially planning to be towed to Eden by the NSW water police boat, Falcon. Victorian yacht Jazz Player retired under the race’s safety rules that a boat cannot proceed in the race past Green Cape without an operating HF radio. She is still heading for Hobart though.
Photo Credit to ROLEX, Studio Borlenghi, RSHYR Media
Oats XI reclaim the lead in the river
on the cards, as lead changes...
The computer prediction shows a finish for both after 7pm tonight, though that could extend to the later evening once they turn at Tasman Island and tackle Storm Bay and the river. The good news is that the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a continuing north-easterly in the river tonight, which, while not from a favourable direction, at least represents continuing wind.
To break Perpetual Loyal’s 2016 race record of one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds, the first boat must be in before 0231 tomorrow.
Should LDV Comanche regain her lead, it could render irrelevant her protest against Wild Oats XI for a tacking incident between the two shortly after the race start in Sydney. Oats had the opportunity to complete a 720-degree penalty but chose not to, indicating she feels she did nothing wrong.
Therefore, with a penalty of a minimum five minutes at stake, if Wild Oats XI crosses first, the line honours result could depend on the outcome of an international jury hearing in Hobart of the Comanche protest.
Wild Oats XI had managed to close the gap during the morning despite ripping the top out of the headsail most suited to the conditions. Skipper Mark Richards reported that the yacht had sailed “bare-headed” – mainsail only – for some time while the remnants of the damaged sail were recovered and a new sail set.
Corrected time honours are between the next wave in the fleet, with Matt Allen’s new TP52 Ichi Ban ahead of last year’s winner, the Volvo 70 Giacomo, now sailing as Wizard under its new American owners, Peter and David Askew.
The fleet stands at 101, with one retirement, the German TP52 Rockall, which suffered a broken rudder south of Eden this morning, The NSW Water Police boat Falcon was due to rendezvous with Rockall late this morning and is likely to take her in tow and head back to Eden, a slow passage that could take about five hours or more.
Photo Credit to ROLEX, Studio Borlenghi, RSHYR Media
finds top gear and on record pace...
away, Black Jack makes most of the cards dealt...
Beneath a moody, overcast sky, skipper Mark Bradford steered the lean, black hulled Queensland yacht through a textbook start while his big three rivals, LDV Comanche, Wild Oats XI and InfoTrack at times looked out of sorts.
With 628 miles of racing ahead of her in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 73rd running of the race, LDV Comanche chose a safe, somewhat lonely start at the pin end of the line, unfavoured in this light easterly breeze. Raw power tomorrow, not her Harbour maneuvers this afternoon, will win Comanche the race.
Meanwhile, Black Jack timed her start perfectly, at full speed, when she crossed the line fourth from the pin in complete command.
As the two raced down the Harbor on starboard tack, Peter Harburg’s Black Jack had Jim Cooney’s LDV Comanche covered. For a tantalising moment it appeared the giant red and black hull of Comanche could muster enough speed to break the cover, but Black Jack soon established that in this breeze, she had more than enough boat speed to dominate.
Black Jack eventually rounded the first mark well ahead of Comanche, and the gap continued to widen as the two tacked towards the sea mark.
Behind them, Mark Richards was hauling Wild Oats XI back from an abysmal start. With a minute to go he had found himself boxed in, and the Oatley family’s boat looked downright slow when she did eventually cross the line below and astern of her little sister Wild Oats X.
It took the hundred footer five minutes to finally get past her 66ft stablemate, with a lethargic InfoTrack trailing them both – her preferred heavy breeze completely absent.
With his silver-grey thoroughbred at last running free, Richards delayed his turn towards the sea for ages, heading towards Manly and tacking far closer to North Head than his rivals. It worked. When Wild Oats XI crossed Comanche half way out Richards was ahead. Now it was Comanche’s turn to look sluggish.
At the sea mark Black Jack rolled out her big Code Zero and hugged the coast as she barrelled south through a wall of spectator craft. Eventually Wild Oats XI reached the mark in second place, but as her crew set their big head sail Richards opted to head further out to sea.
Third came LDV Comanche, which almost came to a halt as her giant genoa filled with water like a balloon, the crew struggling to haul the dead weight of the sail back on board. At her stern was a small red protest flag, confirmed by Cooney in a call around 4pm. At the time of writing, the first sked had yet to start, when it is expected they will be informed there will be a protest - and on what grounds – but it appears it is to do with the crossing with Wild Oats XI.
Next to the mark were Wild Oats X and InfoTrack, with Beau Geste trailing them further north and to seaward of the rhumbline.
With Black Jack close inshore and Oats and Comanche heading out, the first big tactical call has been made in what will be an absorbing line honours battle. Only one way will turn out to be the right way to go to set up for the transition to the nor-easter later this afternoon, but which one?
Black Jack has to make the most of this early stage of the race. These are her conditions. LDV Comanche and Wild Oats XI will get theirs later. Bradford and Black Jack’s owner, Peter Harburg, will be feeling the first hour went very well. At 4.15pm this afternoon, Wild Oats XI’s navigator, Ian Burns, said Black Jack, LDV Comanche and themselves were in close contact.
Burns said further he did not believe an incident took place between Wild Oats XI and LDV Comanche and therefore did not need to do a 720 degree penalty turn.
As the super maxis accelerated south the smaller boats spread out between Sydney Heads, battling their way through the washing machine created by spectator boats trying to keep up with the favourites. Some will hug the rhumbline, others are already searching for a current further out to ride to Green Point.
On a difficult day most had started this race as they would have planned. Only three yachts on the crowded second start line, St Jude, Smuggler and Jazz Player, were forced to return and restart correctly after jumping the gun.
At 4.20pm Geoff Cropley reported from St Jude their disappointment at breaking the start and said, “We also lost all our instruments 12 minutes before the start, only our compass is working. We are sailing like dinghy sailors – by the seat of our pants.” Asked if they could repair, Cropley said, “Stewart Holdsworthy is working on it.” Cropley said they were sailing in an 8-11 east-nor-easterly breeze.
Sydney Hobart Race Preview
The Bureau of Meteorology’s NSW Manager, Jane Golding, delivered a forecast that points to a fast, mostly broad reaching and downwind sleigh ride conditions, for a change. “The race will start in a moderate east/south-easterly breeze around 10 knots,” and Golding expects, “the winds will shift around to the north-east during the afternoon, to around 15 knots off Batemans Bay.” All four models the Bureau use, point to the nor’-easter building overnight and the next day to around 20 to 25 knots in Bass Strait and down the Tasmanian coast, and those favourable winds will hold into the 28th as well.'
a wonderful forecast for the Line Honours favourites but the fight for
the IRC overall win and the Tattersall’s Cup, will be red hot in
the 45 to 55 foot range. Navigator on Matt Allen's new TP52 Ichi Ban,
Will Oxley says, 'because this will be a fast downwind race that will
suit these quick, 20 plus knot flyers over the displacement boats further
back.' But he does not think it will be an easy race.
It never is...
What is for sure is that this 628-mile race is definitely not to be missed, and we can't wait to see who will be the first to cross the finish line in Hobart.
start at 1300 AEST (10:00am East Asia) on Boxing Day, 26th Dec. Check
out the start line action from 12:30pm AEST (09:30am East Asia) on the
Seven Network in Australia and webcast live to a global audience on Youtube.
Lounge lizards can also go to Live
Tracking or race against the 100 footers on the Virtual
CYCA - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2017 website.
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