Sydney to Hobart protest against Wild Oats XI deemed invalid
Wild Oats XI has retained its Sydney to Hobart line honours standing after a post-race protest against it was deemed invalid.
The owner/skipper of runner-up Black Jack Peter Harburg claimed Wild Oats XI’s automatic identification system (AIS) was not transmitting throughout the whole race and that it disadvantaged the crews of Black Jack and third placed Comanche.
The Sydney to Hobart race committee subsequently lodged a protest against Wild Oats XI.
But a five-member international jury ruled the protest was invalid because it needed to have been lodged by a competitor.
The crew of Wild Oats XI celebrated a stunning win on Friday, crossing the line in a time of 19 hours, 7 minutes and 21 seconds in one of the closest contests in the race’s history.
Mr Harburg reported Wild Oats XI’s automatic identification system (AIS) was not transmitting throughout the race.
He claimed the lapse disadvantaged the crews aboard Black Jack and third-placed Comanche because they could not see where Wild Oats XI was at all times.
While not technically a racing tool, the AIS was introduced as a mandatory requirement this year to improve safety, and race organisers said the requirement to have it on was communicated in race briefings.
Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards claimed the AIS system was flawed while the boat’s engineer Cameron Baillie said he believed their AIS was on throughout the race.
“We were receiving the whole time, our device was telling us it was transmitting, so how else are you meant to know it’s not transmitting, unless someone tells you?” said Richards.
Before the hearing, CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham said there was no obligation for the jury to impose a penalty.
More to come.