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RS2H: You be the judge – did WILD OATS XI complete her tack in time or not?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

SYDNEY – Shortly after the start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart (just over 3.5 hours ago), and while the yachts were still inside Sydney Harbour, WILD OATS XI tried to cross on port ahead of LDV COMANCHE on starboard. Apparently WOXI decided they couldn't cross and tacked to starboard almost directly on COMANCHE's line. The yachts nearly collided, and would have had COMANCHE not luffed to avoid WOXI. Did WILD OATS XI complete her tack before COMANCHE had to alter course to avoid a collision? You be the judge. See a description of the incident, including video, just posted on the Channel 7 website here


If you decide that WOXI completed in time, then no issue. But COMANCHE did shout protest, and immediately displayed their red Flag "B" protest flag.


The Sailing Instructions, in Clause 20, provide for a two-turns (720) alternative penalty for yachts wishing to voluntarily exonerate themselves for breaking a right-of-way rule inside Sydney Harbour. WOXI sailed on, not taking a penalty. The SIs also provide that, "A boat which is found after a protest hearing to have infringed a [right-of-way rule while still inside Sydney Harbour] shall receive a time penalty of not less than 5 minutes added to the boat’s elapsed time."


Assuming COMANCHE protests at the conclusion of the race in Hobart (they are not obligated to do so, and may not if they beat WOXI), and if you judge that WOXI did not complete her tack in time, how much time would you add to WOXI's elapsed time, and why?


Screenshot from the live race broadcast of the incident between WILD OATS XI on port tack trying to cross ahead of LDV COMANCHE on starboard. Some wags suggested that Channel 7, which produced the broadcast of the race, would not show the video as they also sponsor WOXI (hence the "7" on their manisail). Not true, as Channel 7 has already posted an analysis, and the video, to their website here. WOXI tacked at the last minute. Did they compete their tack in time? You be the judge.

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