downer under


The protest by Alan Whiteley’s Cougar II team, of the 2008 Sydney Hobart winner Quest, Bob Steel’s TP52, that surprised most of the Worlds Ocean Racing fraternity, has been dismissed.

The protest alleged that the Quest boys raced the Sydney Hobart with an incorrect IRC certificate. Steel stated after the Hobart that an error was made by the Yachting Australia measurer when he measured Quest. He also stated that they only became aware of the error weeks after the race, reported it, rectified it, rechecked the results and were still comfortably the winner. It has been alleged though on our own anarchy forums, that the error was known within 12 hours of the result.

Bob Steel is one of Sydney’s great campaigners’. The 2008 win was his second Hobart win after his 2002 win and he was CYCA’s Ocean Racer of the year in 2003. A quick look at the overall results will reveal that Quest finished only 4 ½ hours behind Wild Oats XI on elapsed time. A mighty effort!

Cougar II finished second on corrected time 27 minutes 43 seconds behind. It was only the second attempt for Alan Whiteley at the Sydney Hobart. Whiteley, a Melbourne based sailor, takes his racing seriously and was the overall winner of the Grand Prix class at Hammo’ race week last year and has a lot of other podium places to his name. Cougar II is also a TP52, strengthened for Australian conditions.

Obviously, the protest committee has several factors to consider. The validity of the certificate, the culpability of the Quest team and the time within which a protest must be lodged to affect the results, all would be front of mind. The IRC regulations do allow a certificate to be ruled invalid; 19.7 Where the TCC is reviewed and found to be more than 0.005 greater than before, the contested certificate is invalid from the date of issue.

Quest raced the Hobart with a rating of 1.341 and is now racing at 1.342, but as Evo points out in the  Quest protest thread , the other TP52’s all adjusted their rating prior to the Hobart. Ragamuffin= 1.341 to 1.344 Shortwave = 1.347 to N/A Cougar II = 1.348 to 1.345 Wot Now = 1.355 to 1.358. So the difference could simply be in the sail inventory.

However, in the end, it was dismissed because the time limit for protesting had expired. Of course, there is still the possibility of an appeal. Ain’t big boat sailing grand!!

Jordan Spencer