A Polish yachtsman who leased the 21-metre Kosatka Monster Project yacht to the Sopot Yacht Club'sPolish and US crew to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart fromDecember 26 to participate in the Rolex Sydney Hobart regatta, sued the owner of the vessel, British Virgin Islands-basedEcoNautics Racing (ECNR).
On December 21, it turned out that the boat had no insurance policy and therefore could not participate in the race.
Now instead of the regatta, the Kosatka is standing in one of Sydney's marinas , adorned with a decree that states that «access on board without permission from the head of the Federal Maritime Court of Australia is prohibited and will result in criminal liability».
The team wants the owners of the vessel to reimburse $315,000. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, it turns out that initially the ECNR representative in Melbourne provided the renters with a certain certificate of insurance, which was allegedly issued by the Australian maritime insurance company Pantanaeus. But after the documents were checked by the regatta organizers, it turned out that the papers were forged. Pantanaeus representatives confirmed this to both the failed Kosatka crew and the police. The police initiated a case under the article «Fraud».
According to a comment by a Yacht Club Sopot representative for The Sydney Morning Herald, the crew had worked with ECNR many times before in other countries, and this was the first time such problems occurred.
By law, ECNR has 21 days to pay compensation, otherwise the court has the right to use the arrested boat as her. The very purpose of the current arrest of the boat is precisely to guarantee compensation to the plaintiff.
Apart from Yacht Club Sopot, two of the 83 teams that entered the Rolex Sydney Hobart were unable to participate. The crew of the Australian 15.8m TP52 Zen had to pull out of the race at 15:25 due to rigging problems. The boat will sail to Wollongong, Australia instead of Hobart . The crew of the 30.5m Sun Hung Kai Scallywag from Hong Kong announced the end of their participation in the regatta another hour later. One of the largest boats in the racing fleet, the only non-Australian of the five 30m boats, had a broken bowsprit.
Among those competitors more fortunate, 24 hours after the start, the 2017 record-breaking 30.5m Comanche is in the lead (not including the handicap). The team has 190 nautical miles to go before the finish line. That's about 30% of the total distance of 628 nautical miles.
Comanche has three other boats on her tail, the same 30.5-meter supermaxi as her: Black Jack at 2.2 nautical miles from the leader, Wild Oats XI at 2.8 miles, and Infotrack at 6.4.
According to one Wild Oats XI crew member, this is the race with the smallest margin the team has ever been in.
«We've had a tough battle with Comanche in the past but never with all four of our boats in the same situation»," said Chris Links .
With the handicap in hand, the Australian team is leading the race with the 10.8-metre Sydney 36 Midnight Rambler. The boat still has 350 nautical miles to go to the finish line. She is 49th in the Line Honours rankings.