Ichi Ban leads Sydney to Hobart yacht race handicap honors after Celestial penalty

Ichi Ban is now leading the overall standings in Sydney to the Hobart yacht race, after an international jury upheld two protests filed against other rival Celestial, adding 40 minutes to the yacht’s time.

The jury found that a personal location guy at Celestial was accidentally set off Monday night in Bass Strait, prompting the Maritime Safety Authority to warn race organizers.

Before a search was launched, the nearby yacht Ichi Ban was asked to try to contact Celestial, and when no response was received, it triggered a blaze.

The jury found that it was “possible that Ichi Ban’s final position in the race got significantly worse without her own fault by giving help”.

It was found that Celestial violated the race rules by failing to maintain constant radio contact.

Ichi Ban launched a protest as it crossed goal in Hobart a few minutes after Celestial.

Crew members in red jackets race a blue and white yacht at sea
Celestial received a 40-minute penalty for violating the race rules.(Provided by Andrea Francolini)

The race committee launched its own protest and also accused Celestial of not responding to radio for 90 minutes.

An estimated penalty of 40 minutes instead of disqualification was added to Celestial’s time, putting it behind Ichi Ban, who was given a three-minute deduction from his final time.

The final overall winner, adjusted for disability, is to be announced this morning, but Ichi Ban now leads in the position.

A small red protest flag on a yacht with crew members on deck
Ichi Ban flew with a red flag as it entered Hobart, signaling an intention to protest.(ABC News: Rob Reibel)

Di Pearson, media manager for the race, said the decision had “changed things”.

“We still have boats on the way in and we’re waiting for CYCA to declare a winner, which will happen at some point this morning, and then we can run with it,” she said.

“I think it’s pretty cut in concrete.”

Supermaxi Black Jack won line honors as it was the first to cross early Wednesday morning with a time of 2 days, 12 hours and 37 minutes.

Tasmanians write history in two hands

A Tasmanian couple have made history by becoming the first to win line honors in a new category of Sydney for the Hobart yacht race.

John Saul and Rob Gough took out the initial two-handed split of the race, crossing the line in four days, seven hours and 12 minutes.

They were seven hours ahead of Sejldug in second place.

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