Thursday, 31 December 2009

RSHYR: Two True's Win Hangs in the Balance

Mike Welsh' Beneteau First 40 Wicked, awaiting the outcome of a protest against Two True to determine whether they finished 1st or 2nd Overall. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Lisa Ratcliff

As the remainder of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet trickles across the finish line, Andrew Saies’ Beneteau First 40 Two True has moved into contention for the overall win. But first they have to survive this morning’s 10am protest.

It’s been a long wait for South Australian yachtsman Saies who waited for the overnight finish of the smallest in the original 100 strong fleet, Zephyr Hamilton Elevators, which was leading the IRC scoresheet. With the Nymph 33 now out of the picture in seventh, Saies’ victory hangs in the balance due to a protest lodged by She’s the Culprit following a start line collision that forced Tasmanian boat She’s the Culprit out of the race.

Should the protest be upheld, the coveted Tattersall’s Cup win for the 2009 race will go to a sistership Beneteau called Wicked, owned and skippered by Victorian Mike Welsh. The 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart was won overall by Michael Spies’ First National Real Estate, a Beneteau 40.7.

Matt Allen's Ichi Ban prior to its dismasting on the delivery back to Sydney. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

There are 10 boats still to finish the 628 nautical mile ocean classic, nine of them due before lunchtime and one of them Kioni, a witness to the She’s the Culprit collision. Chris Dawe’s Polaris of Belmont will close the book on this year’s race, due later this afternoon – in time for Hobart’s New Year’s Eve celebrations - after spending six days at sea.

For what has been a pretty slow march to Hobart, amazingly there are still only five retirements.

The last time the corrected time win was affected by a protest was in 1985 when Garry Applebey’s Sagacious protested Peter Kurts’ Drakes Prayer following a start line incident. Sagacious won the protest and Drakes Prayer was penalised, costing Kurts victory. A winner for that race was never announced.

It was because of this incident that the organising club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, moved to a two start line format for larger fleets.

Peter Rogers’ She is due in shortly. The crew has requested assistance at the dock for a crewman with a head injury and a cut over the eye.

In the early hours of this morning, Matt Allen’s Jones 70 Ichi Ban, was dismasted during the delivery back to Sydney when the D2 shroud broke approximately 170 nautical miles south of Eden. Everyone on board is OK and the boat is currently motoring to Eden.

The dockside announcement of the overall winner was due to take place on the Hobart waterfront at 11am this morning but will have to be rescheduled pending the outcome of this morning’s protest, which could take quite some time.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

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