Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin-Loyal became the next boat to pass across the finish line roughly five hours after rival boat Wild Oats XI took line honours in a record-breaking fashion on Friday morning.
Ragamuffin Loyal in Storm Bay
Ragamuffin-Loyal has finished second across the Rolex Sydney Hobart finish line, almost five hours behind the record breaking Wild Oats XI, after gear damage hampered the defending champion’s bid to win.
The crew pumped their fists in the air and shared elated hugs as they passed the Rolex finish buoys at Hobart’s Castray Esplanade at 1208 AEDT, surrounded by thousands of fans.
Speaking from Constitution Dock, skipper Syd Fischer said it was an 'unfortunate' finish after the team so dramatically defeated Wild Oats XI by three minutes and eight seconds last year.
'We had a bit of trouble,' the 85-year old said after finishing his 44th Rolex Sydney Hobart in one day, 23 hours and eight minutes and 44 seconds.
'We’re new to the boat, we’ve only had it two months. I think we did pretty well. The boys pushed the boat really hard, it’s just unfortunate that things broke or went wrong.'
The team damaged headsail gear on the first night of the race, which meant they couldn’t fly their biggest sails for the remainder of the course.
Attention will now turn to a request for redress that will be heard by the International Jury at 1600 hours today. The redress relates to the yacht being on course side of the start line before the canon had fired.
Ragamuffin Loyal crew makes repairs to a headsail fitting
Navigator Andrew Cape said he didn’t expect that the team would be penalised.
'We heard an all clear,' he said. 'When the start’s called all clear, it’s all clear.'
Cape said tactically it was a challenging race and commended Wild Oats XI on setting the new race record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
'We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare and Oats did a great job,’’ he said.
'Sure, a bit more time with the boat, and a bit more time with the equipment we would have been a little better, but that’s not how it was.'
Olympic silver medalist Geoff Huegill said it was incredible surfing down waves at speeds in excess of 30 knots in his second Rolex Sydney Hobart. But, he admitted it was more challenging than swimming.
'At the start of the race there was a comparison there between getting up behind the blocks and doing the Hobart,’’ he said.
'The upside to getting up behind the blocks is that my race is over in 50 seconds. Learning to pace myself is one of the biggest things I’ve had to learn.'
RAGAMUFFIN LOYAL, Syd Fischer - 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Continuing on the racecourse is the battle to secure the final piece of silverware, the Tattersall’s Cup, which is awarded to the overall IRC handicap winner.
Mounting a challenge for the cup is Quest, Calm, Loki, Jazz and Shogun, but Wild Oats XI is looking set to repeat her 2005 treble and claim the line honours, the race record and the overall win.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 website