Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s 100-footer Comanche has met a forecast southerly change head-on, surging to the finish line to capture Line Honours in Race 4 of the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore (Audi Centre Sydney BWPS) series, the Cabbage Tree Island Race.
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race precursor saw a much-lauded shoot-out of the super-maxis – sizing each other up for the ‘Everest’ of ocean racing on Boxing Day this year. And it was last year’s Line Honours title-holder, the record-breaking Comanche, who rose triumphant.
“It was a hard night’s work on the way up there, but we’re pretty happy with how we went,” Comanche co-owner and skipper Jim Cooney said.
“We had a really nice run back down though, and it was great to open up a good lead on the other 100s (Wild Oats XI and Black Jack).
“We’ve been sailing a lot, putting in the work – weeks on end. We train intensively before and after these races, and we’re pretty serious about it!
With three Line Honours titles from four Audi Centre Sydney BWPS races so far, Comanche is shaping up once again as a race favourite in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this year. Cooney, however, is quick to deflect that attention.
“All five of the super-maxi contenders in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race have won before. It’s down to the conditions and all the boats have their strong points.”
But modesty aside, Cooney’s team is racing for one reason.
“We want to win.”
Further back in the pack, current three-from-three Audi Centre Sydney BWPS series overall race winner on IRC, Matt Allen’s Botin-designed Ichi Ban is duelling Michael Cranitch & David Gotze’s LC60 Triton. With the fresh breeze now coming through in gusts of up to 22 knots, both crews are making the most of the southerly change.
Behind these duellers is another close pack of tussling TP52s with CYCA Rear Commodore Dr Sam Haynes’ Celestial, Andy Kearnan & Peter Wrigley’s Koa, and Matt Donald & Chris Townsend’s Gweilo. Li Jian’s Advanced 80 Apsaras from Hong Kong is next with Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice, at just over half the size of the maxi-sized yacht only just behind.
With 28 of the now-31 competitors around the turning point of Cabbage Tree Island, the wait to determine IRC, ORCi and PHS victories continues.
Follow the competitors with Yacht Tracker, see the results as they happen, and keep up to date with all the latest news on the new Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore series website, launched this year by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.