All the Rolex Sydney-Hobart fleet have finished, the silverware has been dished out and no doubt plenty of boats are making their way back north. But there are still echoes rumbling around concerning Grant Wharington's pre-start DSQ, and even questions about the protest-happy nature of the Race Committee. 2012 is the third year in a row when a non-sailing controversy has grabbed the headlines. In 2010 it was Wild Oats' declaration (or lack of) at Green Cape that put her result in doubt. A year later a protest from the Committee against Loyal was thrown out by the IJs. This year (2012) it was all about certificates and declarations and whether Wild Thing was fit to race - on paper. (Unfortunately, Australia is all about being PC these days, and the age of the Larrikin is long gone. Each of these three incidents were about what is usually described as 'arse-covering'. Please excuse foreign language - Delay No More!)
The first two Vendee Globe boats are round Cape Horn, with first-timer Francois Gabart (Gigant) setting a new record from Sables d'Olonne of 52d 6h 18m. Just 25nm behind was Armel Le Cleác'h (Banque Populaire), who also broke the previous record, but there's no prize for second, is there? Gabart and Le Cleác'h have been practically joined at the hip since passing through the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean.
No doubt all right-thinking Englishmen are delighted with the news that Ben Ainslie received a well-deserved Knighthood in the Queen's New Year Honours list. Congratulations to one of Great Britain's greatest Olympians. Now please repeat the performance in an America's Cup, Sir Ben!
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