Super maxi Black Jack wins line honors at Sydney-Hobart race

HOBART, Australia (AP) — Super maxi Black Jack crossed the finish line early Wednesday morning to win line honors at the Sydney to Hobart race.

The Monaco Yacht Club-based Black Jack finished at 1:37 a.m. (1437 GMT Tuesday) in 2 days, 12 hours, 37 minutes, 17 seconds.

This year’s 628-nautical mile event (about 720 miles; 1,170 kilometers) has been one of the slower races in recent memory, a long way behind Comanche’s 2017 record of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds.

Race officials said 36 boats have retired from a starting field of 88 because of rough conditions caused largely by ocean currents.

Black Jack and 100-footer LawConnect — a previous winner as Perpetual Loyal in 2016 and Investec Loyal in 2011 — had traded the lead several times as the yachts approached the island of Tasmania.

LawConnect appeared set to finish second. Hong Kong’s SHK Scallywag100, which led the fleet out of Sydney Harbour on Sunday, was in third place.

Last year’s race was canceled the week before it was due to start because of coronavirus-related quarantine issues, but the 2021 edition proceeded with mass virus-testing protocols in place. Skippers were told boats must immediately retire from the race if a crew member receives a message from health authorities saying they have tested positive for COVID-19.

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