After capturing the eyes of the world and, more importantly to her team, Line Honours and the new open record for fastest time in the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in spectacular fashion, Comanche has backed up with an undeniably dominant performance in this year’s Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore (Audi Centre Sydney BWPS) series.
Five races down and one to go, Jim Cooney & Samantha Grant’s 100-foot racer has not only claimed four Line Honours victories, but three new records in the series considered to be the pinnacle of ocean racing in this country.
“The team only had four days together on the boat before the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race last year,” said Cooney who famously purchased Comanche a mere 96 hours before the start.
“This year we have set out to prove the boat’s credentials and have worked hard on our light-air performance and downwind depth. I think that work is now shining through and the team has really come together.”
And with today’s Bird Island Race now behind them, their attention inevitably turns towards the greatest race in the Australian sailing calendar, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starting on Boxing Day this year. With five super-maxis entered and an exceptional line-up throughout, it has been described as the toughest fleet in the history of the event.
“These are all top-line boats, and we’re all very, very keen to be first across the line for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Three of the super-maxis have won before, and it’s fair to say the top half of Scallywag has won the race before! But it will come down to conditions, it will come down to a bit of luck, everyone will be trying their utmost hardest and all teams have put their preparation in,” said Cooney.
But Comanche wasn’t the only record-breaker on-course today with Peter Harburg’s Black Jack also coming in under time. The previous record, held by Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki (who now own the race's conventionally ballasted record), was set in 2011, the same year Ainsworth took her to Overall Victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – an enviable feat now setting the benchmark for these top-end racing machines.
The Bird Island Race battles continue however, with four-time winner in the Audi Centre Sydney BWPS series so far, Matt Allen’s Botin-designed TP52 Ichi Ban, currently leading the pack. Allen and crew, the current Tattersall Cup holders for Overall Winner in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, are another team continuing their dominance with a point to prove.
And even now, with nine hours of racing behind them, and plenty of miles still to race, ‘we’re winning’ will undoubtedly still be the mantra of the smallest boat in the race, the crowd favourite 'little blue boat’ – Shane Kearns’ S&S 34 Komatsu Azzurro.
Make sure to watch the competitors with the Yacht Tracker, and follow the race live on the Standings page of the Audi Centre Sydney BWPS website as the competitors start to ramp-up their homeward-bound journeys.