Ichi Ban declared the handicap winner

Ichi Ban declared the handicap winner

Ichi Ban declared the handicap winner

Ichi Ban was declared the handicap winner of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Dec. 29 after an anxious overnight wait.

The 52-footer was the eighth yacht to cross the line, but beat Quest by 20 minutes in the handicap rankings calculated according to size.

Ichi Ban was forced to wait before the victory was confirmed while officials heard a protest which stripped Wild Oats XI of the line honors win, in favor of rival super-yacht Comanche.

Wild Oats crossed the line in record time late on Dec. 27, but an international jury handed the crew a one-hour penalty after Comanche protested over a near-collision between the 100-footers early in the race. It is just the third time the result of the annual race, which has been held since 1945, was decided by a protest, and the first since 1990.

Ichi Ban skipper Matt Allen, who has been involved in the notoriously tough race since 1976, praised his crew as “the best sailors in the world.”

“These guys go to the ‘nth’ degree to push the boat so hard in incredibly challenging conditions,” he told reporters.

“You cannot imagine how rough and how wet these boats are to sail at that speed through the ocean.”