The SuperMaxi Comanche, all one hundred feet of her with a huge beam to provide impressive sail-carrying power, has overcome the tricky winds and calms of the Derwent River to take line honours in the Tasmanian morning in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, despite the best effort of slimmer boats to take away her shrinking lead.
Jointly owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, Comanche seemed to have a commanding lead coming south offshore, and benefitted from staying further east than the rest of the fleet.
But the inshore work towards the finish poses its own problems, and Christian Beck’s InfoTrack seemed like a possible danger. But in the end, Comanche’s time across the line had her 44 minutes ahead on the water by the time Beck and his crew made their slow finish.
Nine times line honours winner Wild Oats XI, skippered for the Oatley family by Mark Richards, has had a frustrating race of it, but pulled back the leaders towards the finish. Nevertheless, as InfoTrack completed the course, the Oatley boats still had 6.3 miles to sail and was making only 4.8 knots.
Ichi Ban Leads on IRC
As the day makes on in Tasmania, the next group of finishers are hoping that the northerly wind will be reinforced by the makings of a sea breeze. As of 2240 hrs, Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban with Gordon Maguire is indicated as narrowly leading IRC overall, but she is still 87 miles from the finish, though making good at 11.8 knots – a significantly better speed than any of her closest rivals.
The most directly Irish contender, Darren Wright’s First 40 HYC Breakthrough, has been staying schtum and getting on with racing. It’s an approach which seems to be doing no harm at all, for although she still has 275 miles to sail, HYC Breakthrough has now moved up to 6th in IRC Division 6.