first in but will it stick?

first in but will it stick?

Wild Oats did what everyone on the planet knew they would do – finish first in the Sydney to Hobart race. What they didn’t do, was follow the rules. Tim Cox AM RANR, Chairman of the Race Committee of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race announced that the Race Committee had lodged two protests; one against Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI and one against Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán.

Cox explained that both yachts had breached Rules 44.1 (a) and 44.2 of the Sailing Instructions which relate to ‘Mandatory Reporting from Green Cape’ via HF radio. “The Race Committee met this morning and we lodged a protest against Wild Oats XI and Ran for not complying with Rule 44.1 (a) and Rule 44.2,” Cox said at a press conference in the Hobart media centre at Constitution Dock at 5.30pm this afternoon. “Both have reported only by telephone, which does not comply, so the protests were lodged at 5.05pm today,” he said.

“We broadcast the protests to the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet at 5.00pm and advised David Kellett on the Radio Relay Vessel to advise the two boats (Wild Oats XI and Rán) of the protest against each one,” Cox confirmed.

Questioned whether protesting was a harsh measure, Cox said the rules had been put in place because of the fatal 1998 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and that it was a matter of safety. “This is a fundamental safety issue,” he said. “Should a situation occur, we cannot organise search and rescue operations via telephones. I consider this a serious breach,” he said.

Cox said the protests had been set down for 1.00pm on Wednesday 29th December and would be heard by the International Jury at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Committee is appointed by the race organiser, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, and once appointed, the Race Committee takes responsibility for the running of the race.

Wild oats photo courtesy of Sailing Images.net.