Ichi Ban leads Sydney to Hobart handicap honours after Celestial penalised for rule breach

Ichi Ban is now leading the overall standings in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race after an international jury upheld two protests lodged against fellow contender Celestial, adding 40 minutes to the yacht's time.

Key points:

  • Celestial is stripped of the chance to claim overall honours after a successful double protest by rival Ichi Ban and the race committee
  • An international jury found Celestial breached race rules by not maintaining radio contact
  • It penalised Celestial 40 minutes, putting rival Ichi Ban in the lead

The jury found a personal locator beacon on Celestial was accidentally set off on Monday night in Bass Strait causing the Maritime Safety Authority to alert race organisers.

Before a search was launched, nearby yacht Ichi Ban was asked to attempt to contact Celestial and when no response was received it set off flares.

The jury found it was "possible that Ichi Ban's finishing position in the race was made significantly worse through no fault of her own by giving help".

It was found Celestial breached race rules by failing to maintain constant radio contact.

Ichi Ban launched a protest when it crossed the finish in Hobart just minutes after Celestial.

Celestial was given a penalty of 40 minutes for breaching race rules.(Supplied: Andrea Francolini)

The race committee launched a protest of its own, also accusing Celestial of being unresponsive on radio for 90 minutes.

A discretionary penalty of 40 minutes in lieu of disqualification was added to Celestial's time, putting it behind Ichi Ban, which was given a three-minute deduction from its finishing time.

The final overall winner, when adjusted for handicap, is set to be announced this morning, but Ichi Ban is now currently leading on standings.

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

"We've still got boats coming in and we're waiting on the CYCA to declare a winner which will happen at some stage this morning and then we can run with it," she said. 

"I think it's fairly cut in concrete."

Supermaxi Black Jack took out line honours when it was the first to cross early on Wednesday morning with a time of 2 days, 12 hours, and 37 minutes.

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Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

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