careful about contradicting yourself by the 2nd sentence! win IS 'ahead'
1. yacht racing is never equal as the conditions and breakdowns 'variables' are the norm. how many leaders in yacht racing ( or even F1 for that matter) have been beaten due to breakdown or blowing out necessary sails.
2. 2011 win was certainly 'ahead' and now Rags will be arguably faster
3. re Loyal, other than reaching or >30knts is vunerable, Rags will now be arguably faster
4. re variables and Bradburies, even wharro in an old WT config led Oats across bass strait a few years ago
won't need a tragedy of bradburian proportions, just an equipment issue on a leader will bring any of the 100s up as a line honours chance, any amount of money spent (under the cost of a new boat) is well spent if it results in Line Honours ... IMO
If you think Syd is throwing money at no chance or change I'd go back and look at his record/bio & take into acct hes been across the paddock 45 times!
Nevertheless If all were equal ( no gaurantee of that) then i'd still back Oats,
I guess that there's some chance that Dovell may come up with something as fast as what R/P devised nearly a decade ago?