Ichi Ban leads Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on handicap after Celestial was penalized

Ichi Ban now leads the overall standings in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race after an international jury confirmed two protests filed against the Celestial contender, adding 40 minutes to the yacht’s time.

The jury found that a personal locator beacon at Celestial was accidentally activated Monday night in Bass Strait, prompting the Maritime Safety Authority to alert race organizers.

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

The jury found that it was “possible that Ichi Ban’s final position in the race was significantly worsened by no fault of her own by providing help.”

Celestial was found to violate the rules of the race by not maintaining constant radio contact.

Ichi Ban protested when he crossed the finish line in Hobart a few minutes after Celestial.

Celestial received a 40-minute penalty for breaking the race rules.(Supplied by Andrea Francolini)

The race committee launched a protest of its own, also accusing Celestial of not responding on the radio for 90 minutes.

A 40-minute discretionary penalty was added in place of the disqualification to Celestial’s time, placing him behind Ichi Ban, who received a three-minute deduction from his finish time.

The final final winner, when adjusted for handicap, will be announced this morning, but Ichi Ban now leads in the standings.

Di Pearson, the race’s media manager, said the decision “turned things around.”

“We still have boats coming in and we are waiting for CYCA to declare a winner, which will happen sometime this morning and then we can race with him,” he said.

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

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

Tasmanians make history with two hands

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

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

They were seven hours ahead of the second classified Sailcloth.

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