2017 Sydney to Hobart yacht race: live race updates, blog

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    After two years of frustration, Wild Oats XI will aim to claim a staggering ninth line honours victory in the 2017 Sydney to Hobart, but once again will face stiff opposition on the 628-nautical mile trek south. Join The Roar for live coverage of the race from 1pm (AEDT) on Boxing Day.

    Wild Oats were heavy favourites to break their own record and win a ninth line honours crown until about a week ago, when the yacht was struck by lightning on the dock in Sydney.

    It is reported to have fried most of their electrical system and caused unspecified damage, with the crew in a race against time ever since to get Australia’s most famous boat ready for the bluewater classic.

    It’s another stroke of bad luck for Wild Oats after they were forced to retire from the race two years in a row – in 2015 with a torn mainsail and in 2016 with keel damage.

    The other major favourites are LDV Comanche and Infotrack. Comanche, formerly owned in the USA was bought by former Brindabella owner Jim Cooney. The yacht returns to the race after winning in 2015 and missing last yar.

    Infotrack is last year’s line honours winner when it was formerly owned by Anthony Bell and raced under the name Perpetual Loyal.

    Black Jack, who has gone under major renovations this year and gave Wild Oats a run for its money in the Sydney-Gold Coast race and won the Big Boats Challenge last week is the other favourite.

    The weather forecast may play right into the hands of Black Jack and Wild Oats. The forecast is for a non-spinnaker, relatively slow start with south-easterly winds, before they switch around and a north-easterly wind aids most of the race.

    The leaders are then expected to round Tasman Island on Wednesday evening, leaving them stranded in the Derwent River during the typically dead nighttime hours. If the winds remain low and fickle, it should allow Black Jack and Wild Oats to catch the leaders after falling behind Infotrack and Commanche down the coast.

    The timing off arrival into the Derwent will be critical, deciding who wins and whether a race record can be broken or not.

    Comanche and Infotrack are much better in the heavier, downwind conditions, but once in the river Wild Oats and Black Jack could make significant ground.

    The forecast also means the mid-range, 50-foot yachts such as Ichi Ban and Beau Geste will come into favouritism for handicap.

    Paul Clitheroe and Bob Steel’s Quest (formerly Balance), Maserati and last year’s winner Wizard (formerly Giacomo) are also expected to be at the front of the field when it comes to handicap and the Tattersalls Cup.

    In truth, any boats in the 45-55 feet class could take the handicap, with Celestial and Derucci also rated to be in contention.

    11 nations are represented in this years race as well as Australia, alonside 11 yachts from the Clipper World Series.

    It’s impossible to go past the professional organisation of Wild Oats XI to get back onto the winners list after so much bad luck. If, however, she isn’t racing at full fitness, the conditions point to Black Jack being the best bet.

    In the handicap race, the 52-foot Ichi Ban should take victory, finishing early on Wednesday afternoon.

    Wild Oats for line honours, Ichi Ban for handicap.

    Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the Sydney to Hobart from start to finish, and don’t forget to drop a comment in the section below.

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (203)

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    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 6:31pm | ! Report

      This will be the final post of the blog, but incredibly Wild Oats XI have been handed a 1 hour penalty for their indiscretion in the harbour which officially hands Comanche line honours. That’s incredible. Almost unbelievable.

      Anyway, thanks for joining me over the last 48 hours for our live coverage of the Sydney Hobart

      Bye for now.

      • Roar Guru

        Mark Richmond said | 6:46pm | ! Report

        Wow. Not surprised the protest upheld, but I am at the severity of the penalty.
        Can’t say I’m unhappy that Comanche has won, in the sailing fraternity Wild Oats are like Manly or Collingwood. In this instance their arrogance of not performing the 720 degree penalty turn has cost them the race. They were obviously in the wrong, they should have sucked it up and dealt with it….poor judgment by the skipper.

        • 8:18pm
          Rasty said | 8:18pm | ! Report

          Agree with most of that, although I was unaware that wild oats was thought of so poorly. Anyway did you think at the time of the incident that Wild oats could have crossed safely without needed to tack or go under Comanche?
          It looked to me at the time that she would have made it without either vessel needing to change course.

          • Roar Guru

            Mark Richmond said | 8:48pm | ! Report

            Yes, very easily. All they had to do was tack 30 seconds earlier, it was either a misjudgement or stupidity, that caused the incident, and they compounded that by not acknowledging their mistake and taking the penalty turn.
            That is two years in a row they have stuffed up, I’d be looking at the skipper and tactician, one or both have to carry the can. Mark Richards as skipper is the obvious target, but I’d be looking very closely at Iain Murray as well.

            • Roar Guru

              Mark Richmond said | 9:34pm | ! Report

              Hi Rasty…sorry just read your post again, I missed the point about tacking under Comanche. What they could or should have done, was pay off (let the sheets out) and pass behind Comanche, before resuming her heading….may have cost them a minute of two elapsed time max. Better than the actual outcome.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 2:58pm | ! Report

      Plus 2 days, 2 hours, 0 minutes

      Ichi Ban will be declared winners of the handicap race. There are still plenty of yachts to finish, but none will even come close to challenging them.

      The protest of Wild Oats XI and Comanche is due to begin in a few moments. Once it’s decided, the result will be here asap.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 9:44am | ! Report

      Plus 1 day, 20 hours, 45 minutes

      Apologies for the lateness of this update. Ichi Ban finished well and truly in time, stopping the clock about 40 minutes ahead of where they needed to be to take over the provisional lead of handicap. That put the time for Quest well out of reach with Paul Clitheroe’s yacht still not quite over the finish line at Battery Point.

      It leaves Ichi Ban in a very strong position to take out the Tatersalls Cup. There are only a handful of yachts who appear as if they will be able to challenge – Patrice will need to cover 32 miles before 11:47am (AEDT), while Concubine will need to cover 23 miles by 11am (AEDT).

      As I’m filing this report from the terminal at Brisbane Airport, the next one may not be until about 1pm (AEDT) this afternoon, but it’s almost a safe bet that Ichi Ban will take handicap unless conditions on the Derwent (which have been dead overnight) improve drastically over the next 60 minutes or so.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 7:31am | ! Report

      Good morning and welcome to Day 3 of the 2017 Sydney-Hobart yacht race.

      Overnight, a further five yachts have crossed the finish line in the Derwent River, bringing the total number of yachts over the line to seven. For reference, here is the order of those yachts.

      Current provisional finishing order
      1. Wild Oats XI (1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 50 seconds)*
      2. Comanche (1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds)
      3. Black Jack (1 day, 11 hours, 41 minutes, 32 seconds)
      4. Infotrack (1 day, 12 hours, 11 minutes, 19 seconds)
      5. Beau Geste (1 day, 12 hours, 36 minutes, 23 seconds)
      6. Wizard (1 day, 13 hours, 43 minutes, 47 seconds)
      7. Wild Oats X (1 day, 15 hours, 20 minutes, 18 seconds)
      8. Ichi Ban (4 nm to go)
      9. Quest (13 nm to go)
      10. Mascalzone Latino 32 (26 nm to go)

      * – The protest of Comanche on Wild Oats XI will be heard at 3pm (AEDT) today.

      The current leader on Handicap of the finished yachts is Wizard. They are estimated to be down in tenth though. Ichi Ban are in a brilliant position, with just over 4 nautical miles to go, they need to finish by 9:01am (AEDT). Chutzpah are estimated to be second, but they need to 99 nautical miles before 4:31pm (AEDT) – and that time will change once Ichi Ban come over the line (if they do hit the front).

      Quest have 13 nautical miles to go and must do them by 9:46am (AEDT) – again, that time will change should Ichi Ban finish first.

      At this point, you’d have to say Ichi Ban are well and truly in the box seat for the handicap, as long as they can find a bit of wind to drive them over the finish line on the Derwent in the next 90 minutes.

      The next update will be at around 9am (AEDT) as we approach the end of Ichi Ban’s time to get to the line.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 11:00pm | ! Report

      Before I do log off, we have the finishing times of Wild Oats and Comanche.

      Line Honours order

      1. Wild Oats XI (1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 50 seconds)*
      2. Comanche (1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds)
      3. Black Jack (12 nm to go)
      4. Infotrack (28 nm to go)
      5. Beau Geste (30 nm to go)

      *Pending protest

      I’ll be back at 7am.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 10:52pm | ! Report

      The tracker appears to have packed it in for the moment, so I’m going to call a halt on coverage for the evening there. Handicap, as well as the result of a potential protest is still to come, so be sure to join us here on The Roar from 7am (AEDT) tomorrow for all the updates as it happens in Hobart.

      Hopefully you have enjoyed the coverage today. Goodnight.

      • 10:55pm
        Kirsti said | 10:55pm | ! Report

        Goodnight Scott and thanks again

    • 10:52pm
      Simoc said | 10:52pm | ! Report

      Great race. Excellent coverage. Thankyou.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 10:45pm | ! Report

      Apologies, still waiting to see an official time for Comanche. When I do, it will be posted here, but as mentioned earlier, it’s expected to be about 25 minutes in arrears to Wild Oats.

    • 10:28pm
      Andrew said | 10:28pm | ! Report

      Excellent coverage, thank you.

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