LawConnect skipper lauds win in last race before Hobart

Jasper Bruce |

LawConnect has won line honours in the last event before the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, a feat her skipper described as better than her run of second-placed finishes in the iconic race.

Formerly known as Infotrack, LawConnect crossed the finish line around 70 minutes after the starting gun sounded at 12:30pm to begin the Big Boat Challenge in Sydney Harbour.

The fourth boat past the line, URM Group was declared Tuesday’s handicap winner, continuing the 72-footer’s dominant preparation for the big race.

In claiming line honours, LawConnect beat fellow 100ft supermaxis Andoo Comanche and SHK Scallywag, who reached Farm Cove in that order at two-minute intervals thereafter.

Reigning Hobart line honours champion Comanche has dominated the lead-in to this year’s event, most recently finishing the Cabbage Tree Island Race from Sydney to Port Stephens and back with the fastest time.

The fourth supermaxi entered into this year’s Hobart, Wild Thing 100, did not contest the Big Boat Challenge as crew complete work on her before Boxing Day.

URM, eighth-placed on line honours in last year’s Hobart, was the fastest of the six mini-maxis to compete in the Big Boat Challenge, with 62-footer Whisper retiring following a slow start.

Mobbed by spectator vessels unrestricted by any exclusion zone, LawConnect led to the first mark near North Head around 20 minutes into the race.

She did not trail from there as the fleet tracked two laps from Shark Island to North Head and finished by the Sydney Opera House.

The win comes as LawConnect aims for her first Sydney to Hobart line honours title since skipper Christian Beck bought the boat in 2017.

She has crossed the line second in all three of the last Hobart races, and again in the Cabbage Tree Island Race.

LawConnect during the Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Beck, the entrepreneur behind legal software group LEAP, is not reading too far into the result of a race far shorter than the 628-nautical mile journey to Hobart’s Constitution Dock.

But Beck said there were positives to take away.

“It’s the most glorious event we’ve ever had in the boat,” he told AAP.

“I was asking Tony (LawConnect’s sailing master Tony Mutter), What’s better, coming second in the Hobart or winning this? I think winning this is better.

“It won’t make a big difference for the (Sydney to Hobart) race but it does show that the boat and the crew have really come together well.

“We have good potential leading up to it.”

After a week spent on the water, LawConnect’s crew now takes a well-deserved break, but the boat will be out to test her new spinnaker in the days before the Hobart.

Beck himself is on dad duty.

“Nowadays, we mostly don’t do a lot before the Hobart because you want to make sure you don’t break anything,” Beck explained.

“I don’t do a hell of a lot to be honest, because my wife has just had a baby, less than two weeks ago.

“So I’m mostly dealing with babies, which is good because it gets me in that four-hour sleep zone for the race!”