It’s been a busy day over in Hobart, even for an island with ‘mania’ in its name. First, Race Organizer the CYCA finally managed to get Youtube to release the Sydney Harbour race start video that had been in copyright limbo since the start of the race, more than two days ago. If you weren’t watching, that means you could only see it while it was live – after which point the feed disappeared completely until just a few hours ago. We withdraw all the props we gave them…
…and give a whole new set of props to the Hobart Jury, who did what most competent juries would have this morning when faced with a blatant port/starboard foul and an unrepentant offender in Mark Richards: They hit the offender hard with a 1-hour penalty, taking away their overall race record time and giving the line honors win and the all-important course record to Comanche. All this despite Richards and team sailing a blinder up the Derwent, using Oats’ light air prowess to grind down Spithill and the almost all-pro Comanche crew and beat them over the line by 18 minutes. Watch Sailor Girl’s coverage of the finish here and her interview with Comanche owner Jim Cooney here.
If you’ve been on an eggnog bender for the past few days you may have missed the moment when Mark Richards and WOXI tactician Ian Murray got caught pulling the full Cat 1 move on live TV with the poorest supermaxi lee bow in history. We’ve pre-set the Yahoo7 coverage video above to the moment of the foul, and what is shocking is not necessarily Ricko’s screwup – after all, it’s been a dog’s life since he’s competed at high level match racing, and without his tatician getting him set up for the situation, he was clearly a bit overloaded before the crash tack. The real surprise comes from that fact that such an experienced crew, anchored by the guy who developed the foiling America’s Cup penalty system – wouldn’t just do their 720 and be on their way! For fuck’s sake they’ve got POWERED WINCHES. Do your turns and don’t leave the results of a 600+ mile race and an all-important legacy win and outright race record up to the freaking jury at the finish line. WOXI won by 27 minutes – does anyone think a 720 would have taken that long?
To reiterate our opinion: It wasn’t the foul that hurt WOXI. It was the failure to take their turns, combined with the idiotic comments of their skipper in both written and TV interviews. To wit, Ricko told ABC: “If that was a blatant infringement then obviously we would do our turn but it actually wasn’t,”
“In our minds we were clear ahead and we’ve got video footage to prove it.”
“If you read the rule book we did the right thing and that’s all there is to it.”
Maybe not. And maybe it’s time Ricko did a couple of Grade 3 match races to remind himself how the rules work.
As you’d expect, the Hobart thread on Ocean Racing Anarchy has gone insane, with 500 new posts (from Aussies who hate Kiwis, Kiwis who hate Aussies, and Americans who hate everyone) in just a few hours. Check in here.
Title shout to a recently dead legend.
UPDATE: Richo and Sandy O respond to their penalty:
“Obviously we’re very, very disappointed. At the end of the day, the international jury has a job to do,” Skipper of @WildOatsXI Mark Richards #RSHYR pic.twitter.com/4NYVmphU12
— ABC News (@abcnews) December 28, 2017