Comanche, owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, has claimed a second race record in as many outings, taking line honours in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series Newcastle Bass Island Yacht Race.
After a slow trip back from Bass Island and run down Sydney Harbour, Comanche shaved two hours off the previous race record in an emphatic line-honours triumph, finishing in 18 hours 34 mins 38 secs.
During the first few hours of the race with favourable easterly winds, Comanche was able to make the most her large sail area and righting moment, extending out in front of the chasing fleet.
After rounding the Newcastle turning mark in the late hours of Friday night, they were able to keep the momentum high as they started the longer of the three legs from Newcastle, south past Sydney Heads and around Bass Island off the coast of Wollongong. As the team progressed on this leg, however, the wind decreased the closer they got to Bass Island and would make for a slow third leg back to Sydney with the race record looming closer with every minute. They would, however, have no difficulty in crushing the previous best.
Boat captain John Hildebrand said the result was another positive for the team, particularly in the lead-up to the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
“We’re very pleased. It was as forecast the first bit then it petered out. It ended up being light and a bit fluky and a bit all over the place… but overall we’re pretty happy,” Hildebrand says.
“Jim (Cooney) loves it – Jim’s passionate about his sailing and he loves the whole breaking records. That’s one of the things he bought the boat for. He wants to win the Hobart and he wants to break records. It’s a great result for the Comanche team.”
The focus now turns to the overall winner in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series Newcastle Bass Island Yacht Race, with a logjam including SailExchange, Grace O’Malley, Enterprise, Kayimai, St Jude and Ichi Ban battling it out.
Follow the tracker and yachts’ progress live at bwps.cyca.com.au
by Nicholas Janzen