Protest lodged against Sydney to Hobart winner Wild Oats XI

Related Story: Wild Oats XI takes Sydney to Hobart line honours, amid claims of rule breaking

A protest has been lodged against the 2018 Sydney to Hobart winner Wild Oats XI with the Race Committee advising there may have been a breach of regulations.

The Race Committee received a report from the owner of Black Jack saying that Wild Oats XI's automatic identification system (AIS) had not transmitted throughout the race.

The organisers of the race, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), said it had received the protest from the Race Committee.

"The Race Committee is independent of the organising authority of the race to ensure objectivity is maintained and seen to be maintained in circumstances such as this," the CYCA Commodore, Paul Billingham said.

Diagram showing path of leading yachts into Hobart.

Following Wild Oats's line honours win, Black Jack owner/skipper Peter Harburg told the ABC his team was "very disadvantaged because [Wild Oats XI] had their automatic identification system switched off and the rules say it's got to be on all the time".

"We didn't know where they were, and they knew where we were all the time, so that has disadvantaged us and Comanche and we are very disappointed in that."

Wild Oats XI claims their ninth line honours victory in the 2018 Sydney to Hobart yacht race

Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards rejected Harburg's claim, saying Black Jack could "do and say what they like".

"[AIS being switched on] is not a mandatory thing … we were in sight of each other the whole race, it was that close," Richards said, describing the accusation as a "storm in a teacup".

"It's a bit disappointing but life goes on."

A spokesperson from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said there was "no AMSA requirement for these types of vessels to transmit AIS continuously" but that race rules could override that for safety or other reasons.

Sydney to Hobart race regulations state an "AIS transponder shall be carried and be switched on, such that it is receiving and transmitting".

More to come.

Crowds gather at the docks to see the first yachts come in during the 2018 Sydney to Hobart. Super maxi Black Jack at sea A sailor stands near the front of a red yacht with the number 58 painted on it. Start of the 2018 Sydney to Hobart race, aerial photo.

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