LawConnect claims dramatic Sydney to Hobart line win – InDaily

Perennial bridesmaid LawConnect has claimed Sydney to Hobart line honours, coming from behind to pip fellow supermaxi Andoo Comanche by just 51 seconds.

LawConnect, runner-up in the past three events, edged across the River Derwent finish line in light winds shortly after 8am (AEDT) on Thursday.

It was the second-closest finish in Sydney to Hobart history after Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo by seven seconds in 1982.

LawConnect and Comanche, who were in a tight battle the whole race, each had their nose in front in the dying stages.

Skipper and owner Christian Beck said his maiden line honours win in the 628-nautical-mile bluewater event was a dream come true.

“They took the lead pretty close to the line and we thought there was no way we could get it back,” Beck said.

“A wind gust came around. It was a complete surprise.

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“There were guys who couldn’t watch. It was very nerve wracking.”

Pre-race favourite and 2022 winner Comanche took a lead into the River Derwent after holding the advantage down Tasmania’s east coast on Wednesday night.

“It is pretty painful. We’ve got an amazing boat that should have won,” Comanche skipper and owner John Winning Jr said.

“The other guys sailed their guts out and left nothing on the table.

“They beat us with an underdog boat, those guys deserve all the praise they get.”

Winning Jr, whose two-year ownership of Comanche will come to an end after this race, lamented a slow start and getting caught in unexpected low pressure.

“It was one of the most epic finishes in probably any sailing race I know,” Winning Jr said.

“In the last three minutes I think the lead changed three times.”

Beck, who said he would return to defend the win, jokingly described LawConnect as a “shitbox” compared to Comanche.

“I know it looks good on TV but you go up close … she’s rough as anything,” he said.

“Comanche is better in every way. The fact (our crew) can make that boat beat Comanche is amazing.”

LawConnect arrived in Hobart with a red protest flag flying after they slowed for 30 minutes for Comanche who they believed was in distress.

LawConnect sailing master Tony Mutter said they didn’t assert any wrongdoing on Comanche’s part, with the winners finishing in one day, 19 hours, three minutes and 58 seconds.

She was first out of the Heads in Sydney during a dramatic opening day which included the retirement of fellow supermaxi SHK Scallywag because of a broken bow sprit.

Eleven of the race’s starting 103-strong fleet have pulled the pin, with some reporting damage and seasickness after a challenging thunderstorm on the first night.

Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet of smaller boats is crossing the Bass Strait this morning, including the only South Australian yacht in the race, Clockwork.

The Sydney 38 owned by Mary Ann Harvey and Andrew Lloyd, is currently in the main pack, 52nd for line honours and 7th in the IRC3 handicap.

Eleven of the race’s starting 103-strong fleet have pulled the pin, with some reporting damage and seasickness in challenging conditions which included a thunderstorm on the first night.

Moneypenny, URM Group and Alive are together about 60 nautical miles from the finish, with the third remaining supermaxi Wild Thing 100 further back in sixth.



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