Much ado about nothing certainly applies here: the protests lodged against Wild Oats and Ran for failing to check in at Bass Straight during the Sydney Hobart race by the R/C have been dismissed. This outcome looks really suspicious, especially in light of quotes from the R/C like the violation was "a serious breach" and "both have reported only by telephone, which does not comply, so the protests were lodged." However, the facts found paint a different picture:
- WILD OATS XI attempted to radio in at Green Cape by HF Radio without success.
- WILD OATS XI then contacted the race director by phone in the vicinity of Green Cape and was advised to not continue if the HF radio was not working properly.
- They then altered course for approximately 20 minutes and found what they believed to be the problem with the radio and that was fixed.
- Only after fixing the radio and obtaining acknowledgement from Hobart radio at 9:04 that the reception on 6516kHz was received, did they resume racing.
- WILD OATS XI continued to have intermittent problems with the radio and could hear the remaining radio schedules but her transmission could not always be heard until she reached Tasman Island. She did make alternative arrangements to report to JBW by phone at those times.
- Shortly after passing Green Cape, the 0735 radio schedule commenced which takes approximately 1hour and 30 minutes.
- WILD OATS XI took approximately 2 hours to sail the distance between Green Cape and Gabo Island.
WILD OATS XI tacked and sailed for approximately 20 minutes before reaching Gabo Island until the radio was repaired. She did not return to course until they received acknowledgement from Hobart radio when they were satisfied at that time that the radio was operational and had a signal strength fit for the ensuing purpose.
The acknowledgement from Hobart radio satisfied the requirements of sailing instruction 44.2.