NSW yacht Ichi Ban appears set to claim Sydney to Hobart handicap honours for the second time in three years.
The pre-race favourite to take out the Tattersall Cup, awarded to the best overall boat, arrived in Hobart on Saturday night, a good 12 hours after line-honour winner Comanche led the field to dockside to complete the epic journey.
Ichi Ban was atop the handicap leaderboard on Sunday morning, with none of the 130-odd boats still at sea projected to beat her.
The Matt Allen skippered and owned TP52 won overall honours in 2017 and finished a respectable fifth last year.
“Matt and the crew, I think, have been celebrating all night but it’s not over yet; we haven’t declared the race,” Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Paul Billingham said.
“There’s a bit of a change coming in, so we’ll see what happens to the rest of the fleet.”
Quest lodged a protest against Envy Scooters overnight, alleging the Queensland yacht failed to give way in a port-starboard incident coming out of Sydney Harbour.
The protest will be heard at 3pm (AEDT) at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania but is not expected to have an impact on who wins handicap honours, with the boats sitting fourth and third in the standings respectively.
Amazing or wot? Sydney-Hobart – 115 year old 32' wooden ketch 'Katwinchar' is leading the Grand Veterans class, ahead of 6 other fine boats. Overall she's ahead of 13 other competitors. pic.twitter.com/yqh2OqrbLj
— Earle de Blonville (@EarldeBlonville) December 28, 2019
Supermaxi Comanche point-to-point victory in the 75th running of the blue water classic was not without before some anxious moments on a windless Derwent after making the most of strong overnight winds to break away from a five-strong pack down Tasmania’s east coast.
But she slowed in the River Derwent, hampered by light winds.
“That was dramatic. That was 30 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. It was really very stressful,” skipper Tim Cooney said.
Last year’s overall winner, Tasmanian yacht Alive, was sixth across the line on Saturday after the group of supermaxis and sits fifth in handicap standings.
A northerly change of 15-20 knots on Sunday is expected to speed up sailing for the fleet, the bulk of which is off Tasmania’s east coast.
– with AAP