Rambler damaged in Sydney-Hobart collision

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A collision with a submerged object looks to have cost American entry Rambler her shot at Sydney to Hobart race line honours.

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The incident occurred in Bass Strait early on Sunday afternoon when the 88-foot yacht surprisingly led the fleet from super maxi Comanche.

“We had a bit of a disaster … we hit a submerged object with our starboard daggerboard so our boat speed on port tack is severely limited,” navigator Andrew Cape said by phone from the boat.

None of the crew saw what they struck, but it might have been marine life.

“It was a pretty solid hit, it knocked the boat and did quite a bit of damage to the board, so it’s not the best scenario,” Cape added.

At about the same time fellow American boat Comanche passed and took over in front.

She too hit something overnight and almost withdrew before opting to press on with damage to the steering system.

Rambler had been one of few boats to report a good night, with rough conditions from a southerly buster sparking 24 withdrawals from the starting fleet of 108 within day one.

But the challenge lay ahead for the George David-owned Rambler.

“It’s upwards all the way to Tasman (Island) so we’ve still got a lot of pain to come unfortunately,” Cape said, noting that third and fourth placed Ragamuffin and Maserati were both within 30 nautical miles.

“It’s going to be tricky,” he said, of being able to maintain second position.

“We’re going to have to give away a lot of miles … but we’re determined to get to Hobart.

“We haven’t got serious structural damage or anything, but it is limiting our boat speed.”

As the weather calmed to a moderate 20-knot breeze for the lead pack, the waters produced other hazards.

Team Ragamuffin reported its own wildlife encounter.

“Just dodged a couple of whales … big ones too,” the crew posted on the boat’s Facebook page through the afternoon.

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