What a tiresome rant from boat-snob grumbleguts Brian Hancock (“Bad moon rising”). First he doesn’t like Comanche, and gloats that the “decade old” Wild Oats XI beat the new boat to Hobart by an hour last year. True, but what he doesn’t mention is that WOXI has been constantly modified and updated over the past ten years, and that they only won through a dollop of luck and the vast Sydney-Hobart tactical experience of their crew. By contrast, this was Comanche’s first ocean race, and they did remarkably well. (And by the way, the radical surgery currently underway for Wild Oats will see her emerge from the shed looking a lot more like Comanche.)
But the seedier aspect of Hancock’s broadside is the gratuitous swipes he takes at Comanche’s co-owner, Kristy Hinze-Clark, and the Sydney tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph. The news that the big black-and-red boat will be returning for another crack at Sydney-Hobart line honours is most welcome in local sailing circles. The Comanche team were wonderful and generous visitors during their time in Australia. Their head-to-head contest with Wild Oats was engrossing, and a boost for the sport.
It’s an entirely legitimate newspaper story that Kristy Hinze-Clark, who is likely to be on board for this year’s dash South, could be the first female owner to win line honours. “No win, no history”, sneers Hancock, entirely misunderstanding the nature of journalism. By his reasoning, nobody should be covering Donald Trump’s campaign because he might not be elected President.
Perhaps non-Australians don’t understand what a big deal the Sydney-Hobart race is down here. There are daily reports on all the TV and radio networks for a fortnight and the newspapers publish colour liftouts before the event and put their extensive race coverage on the front page as well as in the sports sections.
I challenge Mr Hancock to nominate any American or European offshore event that attracts those levels of attention. Perhaps that’s because the Northern Hemisphere media are sick of dealing with know-it-all sour-asses like him.
David Salter, Sydney, Australia