SUPERMAXI Investec Loyal was declared the official line honors winner of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race after an international jury dismissed a protest that the supermaxi had used outside assistance to beat defending champion Wild Oats XI by three minutes in the event's closest finish in 29 years.
Investec Loyal crossed the line first on Wednesday, but the result was placed under protest by the race committee which alleged Investec Loyal had used a television helicopter pilot to spy on Wild Oats XI.
The protest under rule 41 was heard Thursday by the jury, which ruled that the information on Wild Oats XI's sails received by the winning yacht did not affect the race outcome and was not done to seek any unfair advantage.
Last year, the race committee protested against Wild Oats XI for allegedly not radioing in before crossing Bass Strait, but the protest was also later dismissed.
In an audio recording, Investec Loyal tactician Michael Coxon was heard asking a media helicopter pilot: "Can you confirm, does Wild Oats have their trysail up? What color is the mainsail they've got up?"
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