A decision to penalize Celestial has been rendered in the protest against Celestial in the Sydney to Hobart race, knocking her out of first place, and handing it to Ichi Ban.
For Matt Allen and Ichi Ban, that’s a hell of a way to win a yacht race. As Paul Elvstrom said “If by winning a yacht race you lose the respect of your fellow competitors you have won nothing”, but in my view neither the RC nor Ichi Ban did anything wrong.
Obviously, the opinion of the IJ listening is the same as hearing. That said Celestial didn’t hear anything, even the PLB pinging, which would be concerning if you happened to be the crew member who had fallen off and the ‘ping’ was for real.
Having read the protest and redress findings and knowing personally the ability and experience of at least a couple of members of the IJ, I would strongly suggest that although disappointing for Celestial, that 34.1 in the SI’s wasn’t complied with as it was/is intended and that the decision was correct.
It should also be noted that the IJ handed Celestial the minimum (real) penalty, that of one position in the standings.
In this case, fingers will surely be pointed at Matt Allen for protesting, however, the Race Committee also protested but I rather think that would be unfair. (I don’t see that criticism as unfair, I think it is spot-on. Why pile on with another protest? It’s bullshit. – ed).
Safety is always paramount and the RC was concerned enough, long enough, along with the official SAR authorities to have assets on standby after a PLB was activated resulting in attempted contact with the known parent vessel which received no response for 90 minutes. From the transcript, Ichi Ban only got involved when the RC asked them for help to confirm or otherwise there was a safety issue on Celestial.
I doubt if anyone would be making a fuss if it was Ichi Ban who had been protested in identical circumstances. (there is zero doubt about that. – ed.)