In an absolutely historic fight to the finish, LawConnect snatched victory from Andoo Comanche by less than a minute and in the last 100 metres of the 628-mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Owner Christian Beck will have breathed a huge sigh of relief as his run of three second-place finishes in the legendary ocean race came to a thrilling end at 08.03.58 a.m. local time in Hobart. This morning’s duel produced the second closest finish in the history of the notoriously demanding event, behind Condor and Apollo’s seven second margin in 1982.

While the elapsed time of 1 day 19 hours 03 minutes 58 seconds is some 10 hours off the record set by today’s runner up boat in 2017, the non-stop cat and mouse game between the two leading 100-footers made for a gripping spectacle from start to finish. John Winning Jr’s Andoo Comanche had held a narrow lead for most of the race and was clear by several miles on rounding Tasman Island, but it all came down to a desperate search for the best possible pressure as the boats compressed in extremely light airs on the Derwent River.

As a victorious LawConnect reached Kings Pier to cheers and applause from the assembled crowds, Christian Beck was understandably elated, “To win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a dream come true, especially against Comanche because it’s such a good boat and for us to actually beat them in a circumstance where the lead changed so much. It was an incredibly exciting experience all round.”

As well as acknowledging his constant rival, Beck was keen to commend his crew during the dockside prize-giving ceremony, “If you look at what was successful today, it wasn’t the boat and it wasn’t me, this crew was able to make it [the boat] beat Comanche, which is incredible.”

While two exhausted crews can now celebrate and commiserate in equal measure, the pressure will not let up for the remaining participants still to arrive, and in particular those boats in with a chance of an overall win on handicap, which would see their name engraved on the legendary Tattersall Cup.

Organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Rolex has been partnering the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race since 2002. Now in its 78th edition, the annual event is internationally renowned as one of the most arduous rites of passage in offshore sailing, and is a cornerstone of the Swiss watchmaker’s elite yachting partnerships.