The 2014-launched 100-foot S/Y COMANCHE has taken the line of honours in the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, today. COMANCHE has completed the 628 NM course in 2 days, 9 hours, 58 minutes and 30 seconds and represents the first American entry to take line honours since 1998. History was also created, as Kristy Clark became the first female owner to take line honours in this blue water classic race.
It is possibly the first time, that a boat has retired her crew sail 30 odd nautical miles back towards Sydney, before deciding to continue on racing and go on to win. Kristy, was excited to take the line honours in her first foray into the race, as her husband and co-owner, Jim watched from ashore. Even though the yacht represents the New York Yacht Club in the USA, Kristy is a through-and-through Australian.
COMANCHE was greeted by a huge crowd, with not a square inch to be had around the piers and wharfs surrounding Hobart, where thousands celebrated the victorious American boat.
Comanche’s finish was impeded by the breeze which came and went at whim as the yacht rounded the Iron Pot. At one stage she was powering at 15 knots, then down to 8.5 knots. Her finish time of two days nine hours 58 minutes 30 seconds was outside the record of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes 12 seconds set by Wild Oats XI in 2012.
But it did not matter. The last American to take line honours in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race was Larry Ellison’s Sayonara, 17 years ago in the fatal 1998 race, so Comanche’s efforts was quite some achievement, even if their quest of beating Wild Oats XI was not to be.
However, the Oatley family and Wild Oats XI skipper, Mark Richards, were watching back home in Sydney and sent a congratulatory letter to Jim Clark.
Comanche’s highlights to this moment include:
First overall (Elapsed Time division). Voiles St Barts
First overall elapsed, Storm Trysail Block Island Race
Elapsed time record, Storm Trysail Block Island Race
First overall handicap class and fleet, Storm Trysail Block Island Race
First overall elapsed, Rolex Transatlantic Race
24 Hour Monohull Distance Record, 618 miles
First overall elapsed, Rolex Fastnet Race
First overall (Elapsed Time Class), Rolex Maxi Worlds