Mark Richards celebrates with the Oatley family. Picture: Richard Jupe
Mark Richards celebrates with the Oatley family. Picture: Richard Jupe

‘100 per cent we wouldn’t protest’


AS Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards partied with his crew into the early hours, the lingering thought of having his race record stripped over protest nagged at him like loose rigging.

However, the bleary-eyed skipper was in good spirits on Thursday morning after a long night at Customs House celebrating Wild Oats' ninth Sydney to Hobart line honours win and a new race record.

"Does it look like I've slept?," a smiling Richards asked Fox Sports News. "Customs House is a pretty dangerous spot in Tasmania once you finish the race. I've actually just come straight from Customs House to the camera!"

But Richards revealed the looming protest lodged by Comanche after a near collision in Sydney harbour had taken the gloss off the celebrations.

"It's an unfortunate situation and it's something we've got to deal with today (Thursday) with the international jury dealing with that (the Comanche protest) this afternoon. It's never a great situation to be in, I'm not a protesting type of person at all, so it's just an unfortunate spot to be in but it's something we have to work through and until it's done I'll be unrelaxed."

Richards gave a backhanded dig at the Comanche crew when asked if he would protest if the show was on the other foot.

"100 per cent no, (I wouldn't protest) it's not the sort of thing we would do, I'm just not that sort of person."

"I've been competing competitively for 35 years and alway steering clear of any protests because it's just not what racing's about for us.

"Those guys think they've got a good case so I guess it's their prerogative to do. I think it's a shame but a lot of those guys are our mates on land so whatever happens at sea stays at sea."

The official protest hearing will be heard at 3pm on Thursday.