27 Dec 2012

Skipper furious at not being allowed to start Sydney to Hobart

4:59 am on 27 December 2012

A furious skipper Grant Wharington says he's been blindsided after his super maxi Wild Thing was ruled out of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's race committee made the decision to pull the 2003 line honours winner just three hours before the official start, citing a failure of the boat's owners to produce sufficient documentation regarding its design and build modifications.

Wharington claims he was initially given approval to race and then it was subsequently withdrawn.

CYCA commodore Howard Piggott delivered the news while Wharington had his phone switched off, the skipper giving his crew a pre-race briefing at the time.

Wild Thing has undergone a number of changes and been lengthened to the permitted maximum of 100 foot.

Piggott says the race committee's decision is final.

He says Wild Thing would be marked as a non-starter and a message would be sent to Wharington not to interfere with the race.

Wharington's had a tempestuous relationship with the event in the past.

In 2004 Wharington and his crew were forced to pull out of the race due to a keel problems and in 2009 he had to race against the clock to get the boat ready for the race after a mast broke during delivery, from Melbourne to Sydney.

Two years ago Wild Thing, the 2003 line honours winner, was involved in a collision with a media boat.

Wild Thing was regarded as third favourite for line honours after Wild Oats XI and Ragamuffin Loyal.