EN ROUTE SYDNEY TO HOBART – True to the pre-race weather forecasts and expert predictions, LDV COMANCHE is on a record-setting pace now almost 30nm ahead of where last year's winner and record-setter, PERPETUAL LOYAL, was at this time. INFOTRACK, named PERPETUAL LOYAL last year, set a record time of 1 day 13hr 31min 20sec to take the 2016 line honors.
The Rolex Sydney to Hobart race tracker shows PERPETUAL LOYAL'S 2016 position along with this year's fleet, for the equivalent elapsed time.
LDV COMANCHE now leads second-place WILD OATS XI by some 17nm, after trailing WOXI and BLACK JACK out of Sydney Harbour.
Meanwhile, an article in the Daily Telegraph added insight into the incident between LDVC and WOXI soon after the start while the yachts were still in Sydney Harbour. Quoting from that article:
The multimillion-dollar boats containing a cluster of elite sailors, including Jimmy Spithill, Stan Honey and Iain Murray, came frighteningly close to colliding.
“We had a near miss with Wild Oats,” Comanche skipper Jim Cooney said.
If Wild Oats thought it had done something wrong, it had the option of doing a penalty turn.
“We didn’t think there was an infraction,” Wild Oats navigator Ian Burns said. “We discussed the 720-degree penalty and decided we didn’t need to under the circumstances. (We) continued on aware of the fact Comanche put up the red protest flag.”
Read and see more about that incident in the "You be the Judge" article your Ed,. posted to Sailing Illustrated about three hours after the start (Monday evening USA time) here. Overnight dozens of commenters have responded to that article on Facebook and elsewhere, with the opinions running probably 80-20 against WOXI – a large majority saying that WOXI broke the rule requiring a yacht to complete her tack before the other yacht has to alter course to avoid a collision.
Perhaps the best observation your Ed. has seen was by Mike Royer (USA, Puerto Rico), who said in comment to our SI article he posted on the Facebook Yacht Club FB page, "Shouldn’t even be having this discussion. You’re on a 600 mile race in a multimillion dollar boat and you are going to risk getting tossed out in the first 20 [minutes] for a move that gains you nothing?"
In that same thread, Jason Dyer (USA, Texas) put it more succinctly, saying WOXI "Fouled the hell out of them."
As some of our Dear Readers will know, your Ed. is a former International Judge and Umpire who has served on countless international juries, chaired world championship juries for the Star, Farr 40 and other classes, and served as the sole USA member of two Olympic Juries (1992 in Barcelona and 1996 in Savannah). IMHO, the excellent Rolex highlights video (below) gives a clear aerial view of the incident, and does not bode well for WOXI if LDVC does indeed file a protest upon finishing in Hobart. They are not obligated to do so, and may not if they beat WOXI.
As one wag predicted on Facebook in response to our "You be the Judge" article last evening, LDV COMANCHE will not file a protest and the WILD OATS XI crew will buy the COMANCHE crew two rounds of drinks in Hobart. Is that one round for fouling them, and the other for LDVC not filing the protest?
Unfortunately a replay of yesterday's excellent 90-minute Channel 7 livestream from the start and early stage of the race is still not available on YouTube or otherwise, but check out this 1:52 highlights video which includes the good aerial shot of the WOXI-LDVC incident 50 seconds into the video. And, again, you be the judge....