The winner of a Sydney to Hobart yacht race has been cleared of allegations that the crew improperly sought information about a rival from a radio network’s helicopter. The captain called the charges “silly” and complained that race organizers had urged competitors to be more press friendly to generate publicity.
The dispute hinged on an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) radio service early Wednesday in which the skipper of the Loyal inquired of the airborne interviewer about the condition of the new type of sails being used by another boat, Wild Oats. When Loyal won the race by a narrow margin the skipper was handed notice of an inquiry into whether that radio interview had given him outside information which amounted to an unfair advantage.
In the end, the inquiry panel found that the captain was truly interested in how the new sails were holding up and didn’t gain any tactical advantage from the radio interview.