Sydney to Hobart 2017: The start

Supermaxis LDV Comanche and Wild Oats XI have come dangerously close to colliding in the early stages of Tuesday's 73rd Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Comanche appeared to have flown a protest flag after a hair-raising manouevre from Wild Oats XI, which cut across her rival despite Comanche having right-of-way.

The race-favourite was not forced to alter course, which may save Wild Oats XI from receiving a time penalty for a dangerous manouevre.  

Black Jack set the early tempo at the start of this year's Sydney to Hobart, leading eight-time winner Wild Oats XI out of the Sydney Heads.

Wild Oats XI started slowly for the second consecutive year but recovered to pass LDV Comanche, which had been side by side with Black Jack in the opening exchanges.

An easterly breeze made the early going tough for last year's winner Infotrack, formerly Perpetual Loyal, who could only look on helplessly as the other three super maxis sped away.

Infotrack was fifth to turn out of the harbour behind Wild Oats X, the latter making her race debut.

It's on: Black Jack, LDV Comanche and Wild Oats XI exiting Sydney Heads. Photo: James Brickwood

It's on: Black Jack, LDV Comanche and Wild Oats XI exiting Sydney Heads. Photo: James Brickwood