The world’s most successful one-race maxi saw her string of Sydney-Hobart line honors victories end last night when Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI tore her mainsail in a big windshift last night. Oddly, the damage occurred during a well-forecasted southerly change – something you’d think the well-oiled pros aboard WOXI could handle easily. Apparently not; the torn sail was enough to send the big Swiss Army Knife back to the North.
Once WOXI got hers, the carnage really began – first the leader, Comanche with a broken rudder, then Ragamuffin, Loyal, St. Jude, Black Jack, Brindabella – many of the marquee monsters were reported out, though some, including Comanche and Black Jack, are now back on the track after some makeshift repairs. And leading them all is Rambler 88, essentially an overgrown Volvo 70 benefiting from the more speedy, more fragile hundred footers who just can’t hack it in a 50-knot gust.
In other Sydney-Hobart news, you can all pat yourselves on the back, because your pressure on Rolex and the CYCA produced, at very least, an apology for geo-blocking the world from the Yahoo!7-produced start of the race. One source says this was all planned, because Channel 7 doesn’t actually have the digital infrastructure to handle serving hundreds of thousands of streams all over the world. Given the almost unbelievably bad start coverage they produce, we’re not surprised. In any event, you can now watch the start on the Hobart website, though be prepared: The shots are mostly shit, the commentary is mostly shit, and there are 6 minutes of advertisements for every 4 minutes of sailing.
The tracker ain’t much either for a ‘world’s leading yacht race’ but it works, and it’s here. And of course the most useful tool for Sydney-Hobart fans is right over here. Photo of Rambler thanks to Stefano Gattini/Rolex.