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It’s Now Irish-Australian Sailors All the Way on Sydney Hobart Race Leaderboard

28th December 2017
Irish Australian skipper Jim Cooney, the line honours winner of the Sydney Hobart Race 2017. The Comanche skipper told the press in Hobart he lodged the Port and Starboard protest against Wild Oats over safety issues, not to win the race Irish Australian skipper Jim Cooney, the line honours winner of the Sydney Hobart Race 2017. The Comanche skipper told the press in Hobart he lodged the Port and Starboard protest against Wild Oats over safety issues, not to win the race Photo: ABC news

A time penalty of one hour. That is the punishment meted out today by the International Protest Committee to Mark Richards and the hundred footer Wild Oats XI for the near-collision with Jim Cooney’s LDV Comanche in a port-and-starboard incident on Tuesday afternoon 15 minutes into the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race 2017. The means that LDV Comanche is now the official Line Honours Winner writes W M Nixon. 

With boats this size, any impact is dangerous. The full-blown collision which was narrowly avoided by Comanche’s swift action thereby averted the very real danger of the high-tension carbon fibre hulls exploding in lethal splinters. Thus Cooney and his team felt they had to go ahead with their protest in the interests of safety as much as sportsmanship, and the very definite nature of the penalty means that the Protest Committee emphatically agreed with them.

comanche protestWild Oats tacks in front of Comanche, a maneouvre later penalised by the protest jury

Scroll along the timeline on the vid below to 20 minutes to see County Cork bowman Justin Slattery on Comanche signal the incident that led to Wild Oats losing line honours victory.

The orginal Line Honour top two placings are thus reversed, with LDV Comanche officially recorded as first to finish on 1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, and Wild Oats 33 minutes astern on 1 day 9 hours 48 minutes and 50 seconds, but still nearly two hours clear of the third placed Black Jack (Peter Harburg).

Listen to Cooney talk to the media in the ABC newsclip after his Hobart protest victory here

In the equally important – some would say more important – handicap placings, the TP 52 Ichi Ban (Matt Allen), with Ireland’s Gordon Maguire as Sailing Master, is now firmly in first overall. But there has been a welcome up-grading for other Irish sailors, with the American-owned Volvo 70 Wizard, whose crew includes Noel Drennan, now officially fourth overall and first in Class 0, while the Italian Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino 32, navigated by Ian Moore, has moved up 5th overall and second in Class 0, just 11 minutes behind Wizard.

In classes still racing though now with no chance of challenging the overall winners, the First 40 Ariel with Emmet Kerin of Limerick in the crew is currently third in Class 3 with 112 miles to race, while the veteran China Easyway with Tom Dolan from County Meath on board is currently fourth in IRC Class 4 and third in ORC Class 4.

Published in Sydney to Hobart
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