LawConnect wins Sydney to Hobart race

LawConnect heads up Sydney Harbour at the start of the 2023 Sydney to Hobart race. Photo: Getty Images
LawConnect heads up Sydney Harbour at the start of the 2023 Sydney to Hobart race. Photo: Getty Images
LawConnect has won line honours in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, defeating favourite and defending champion Andoo Commanche by seconds.

New Zealand’s Tony Mutter was the sailing master of the vessel and it’s the fourth time lucky for owner Christian Beck, who has been the runner-up for the past three years but after one day and 16 hours, the race is finally over.

It was a fairytale ending for Mutter and his crew, who lost one of their most important sails on night one after wild storms thrashed the fleet.

LawConnect came from behind to pip fellow supermaxi Andoo Comanche in the thrilling finale. It edged across the River Derwent finish line 51 seconds ahead of her rival not long after 8am (AEDT) on Thursday.

The pair, who were neck-and-neck the whole race, played cat-and-mouse in light winds as they neared the finish.

Both performed several jive manoeuvres as they attempted to secure the lead.

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

The final finish time of LawConnect was one day, 19 hours, three minutes and 58 seconds.

Comanche had taken a narrow lead into the River Derwent after holding the advantage down Tasmania’s east coast on Wednesday night.

LawConnect was first out of the heads in Sydney on Boxing Day after a dramatic start to the 628-nautical mile bluewater classic and the retirement of fellow supermaxi SHK Scallywag.

Scallywag was forced to retire roughly six hours into the race after breaking her bow sprit.

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.

LawConnect navigator Chris Lewis described the stormy seas as “wild” with 180-degree wind shifts.

Moneypenny, URM Group and Alive are in a bunch about 80 nautical miles behind the two duelling leaders, with the third remaining supermaxi Wild Thing 100 further back in sixth.

- NZ Herald with AAP