“COMANCHE” CHOPPED OVER A DAY OFF THE TRANSATLANTIC RACORD. GREAT BOAT, GREAT CREW, BUT REMARKABLE ROUTING FROM STAN HONEY
Comanche Going For Transatlantic Record
Published on July 22nd, 2016
(July 22, 2016) – Comanche, the 100 foot racing yacht owned by Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark, will depart this evening from New York (USA) and point her bow East to Britain as the record-breaking monohull takes on the Atlantic in a bid to continue breaking world records.
An exciting weather window has opened up which promises fast conditions with strong wind, great angles and flat seas all the way to Europe. With Comanche skipper Ken Read committed to TV commentating at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, England, over the weekend, the world class crew will be led by experienced sailors Casey Smith, Tony Mutter, Richard Clarke and Navigator Stan Honey. Due to other commitments, Comanche will also be missing regular crewmen Kelvin Harrap, Warwick Fluery, Jimmy Spithill and Ryan Godfrey.
North Sails President Ken Read, speaking from the America’s Cup event in the UK, said, “A fantastic weather window has opened up for Comanche to take on the Atlantic. We have been on standby for a few weeks now and have almost left on three separate occasions since the end of June, and each time we have had to piece together a different team based on who is available, before the weather fizzled out and shut down those attempts. But now the right conditions have presented themselves.
“On a personal level the timing couldn’t be worse as I am committed to my role as TV commentator for the America’s Cup and am on the wrong side of the Atlantic to jump on the boat with the crew, as are key crewmembers such as Kelvin, Jimmy, Warwick and Ryan. But that is life sometimes. It is very difficult to plan a record attempt, so different from a regatta that is scheduled on a very specific date. But this program, put together by the Clark’s, has always been about their core belief in The Team. Under the guidance of Casey, Stan and a crew boasting some of the best sailors in the world, Comanche is in perfectly good hands and if the weather cooperates, they will do it.”
Speaking ahead of the departure, Comanche owner Jim Clark stated, “Comanche was built to break records – she has already proven her potential in major events all around the world and this looks to be a great opportunity to continue her legacy. It’s a real shame her skipper Ken Read and other key crewmembers will have to miss this ride but he and I will both remain in close contact with the guys onboard. The crew is made of some of the best sailors in the world who all have great pedigree. I have a good feeling about this attempt.”
The highly experienced Navigator on Comanche, Stan Honey, identified the window of opportunity for the crew “The current weather models are giving us ideal conditions to potentially beat the record if everything develops as forecast. Whilst the patterns look perfect for now, with flat seas and a great angle with strong winds to power us across the Atlantic, as ever we are always at the mercy of changing weather, so we’ve got everything crossed. All in all now is the time to go if we are to take on the record this summer.”
The current monohull transatlantic record from West to East (Ambrose Lighthouse to Lizard Point) is 6 days 17 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds, set by Mari Cha IV in October 2003. In 2015, Comanche set the 24 hour monohull distance record of 618 miles as they raced across the Atlantic (at an average speed of 25.75 knots).
To follow the progress of Comanche, please visit:
The boat will sail with only 17 crew and with all manual powered winches and hydraulics for this record attempt:
Casey Smith (AUS), Boat Captain
Stan Honey (USA), Navigator
Tony Mutter (NZL), Trimmer
Dirk de Ridder (NED), Main Trim
Chris Maxted (AUS), Boat Crew
Jon von Schwarz (USA), Grinder
Juggy Clougher (AUS), Bow
Julien Cressant (FRA), Pit
Nick Dana (USA), Bow
Pablo Arrarte (ESP), Runners
Pepe Ribes (ESP), Bow
Peter van Niekerk (NED), Trimmer
Phil Harmer (AUS), Grinder
Richard Clarke (CAN), Runners
Robert Greenhalgh (GBR), Main Trim
Shannon Falcone (ATG), Grinder
Yann Riou (FRA), Media
FROM SAILING SCUTTLEBUTT
I am about to start my 9th transatlantic race on 7 different boats. I have sailed with a number of people as a result; and have warm memories of each race, each boat, and each and every person.
It is a fraternity that one can only join by competing.
I had news a few days ago that another of that fraternity had died. Peter Van Dyke passed away. A loss to our group.
This is footage from the 2011 race. Already so long ago. The Transatlantic race this summer from Newport RI to the Lizard in England. There will be 3 starts beginning in June, the last start in July for boats like “Comanche” and “Rambler”. I intend to sail with many old shipmates once again on “Snow Lion” belonging to Larry Huntington.
Francois Joyon set sail on his trimaran “IDEC” yesterday from New York yesterday in an attempt to break the single-handed transatlantic record; presently held by Thomas Coville and Sobedo. He is, as I write 46 miles behind Thomas Coville’s pace. The record stands at 5 days, 19 hours 47 minutes, 20 seconds set in july 2008.
|‘Francis Joyon, IDEC’ © V. Curutchet / DPPI / IDEC Click Here to view large photo|
Francis Joyon initiated his attempt to smash the outright solo sailing record this morning at 09:15:20 hrs UTC (11:15:20hrs CET). In order to beat the current record of 5 days, 19 hours, 30 minutes and 40 seconds held since July 2008 by Thomas Coville on his trimaran Sodebo, Joyon and his maxi-trimaran IDEC will have to cross the latitude of The Lizard by 0445hrs UTC (0645hrs CET) on Monday 17th June.
The final 24 hours in New York were very stressful for the Breton sailor from Locmariaquer, as everything was a bit of a rush. He had to find a RIB to help him out of Gateway Marina, finish stowing supplies aboard, work on the final weather details… and once again, as we have come to expect, Francis Joyon in his usual style, took care of everything himself, while benefiting whenever possible from any kind offers of help from other seafarers on the pontoons. Once out of the bay off New York, the ‘big red bird’, IDEC was free to fly in the open waters of the Atlantic.
The SW’ly wind was blowing as forecast off Ambrose Light, and in spite of a heavy swell, Francis Joyon was able to speed off from the outset at record pace with the speedo stuck above 23 knots. ‘The swell was hitting us as we left Ambrose Light,’ Francis Joyon explained at lunchtime today. He was happy to be alone again at sea and relieved to have made it out of the Hudson and away from the shoreline without hitch, in spite of a few anxious moments. His final hours in the Big Apple were rather rushed.
‘I didn’t have time to take care of all the supplies. I asked a guy on the pontoon to help me. He was Russian; he gave me some food from home. So it looks like it’s going to be Russian food this week…’
It was during the night that Francis got his boat away alone and removed the propeller, in order to head for the precise location, where we used to see the famous Ambrose Light. One last look around, the autopilot was switched on and the genoa trimmed… and Francis Joyon told the official from the World Speed Sailing Record Council, who was in New York, to start the clock for the big red trimaran. At 09:15:20 UTC (1115hrs CET), IDEC was off on her latest battle with the Atlantic.
‘The weather opportunity isn’t brilliant, but we will have to make do with that…’ Sounding light-hearted, once the decision had been taken in close collaboration with Jean-Yves Bernot, his accomplice on many a maritime adventure, Francis Joyon only wanted to look ahead to the next few hours. ‘I know that I should be getting some good conditions for the first two-thirds of the course, and according to the latest weather models there is some doubt about the finish, if we follow the route taken by the low-pressure area,’ explained Francis.
‘The route won’t exactly be the Great Circle route, as I shall be sailing a little further south. But on the other hand that means I shall be avoiding the worst fogs around the Great Banks…’ Fog, which has already engulfed IDEC in her first few miles of racing, forcing Francis Joyon to keep a close eye on the radar and over the bow of the boat.
‘I have just sailed between two whales.That was nice. They left me enough room to get through without having to manoeuvre…’ A 30-knot SW’ly wind is forecast ahead of the maxi-trimaran IDEC, with seas that are going to become increasingly tricky; Francis Joyon is facing a mammoth task and that is without taking into account the lack of sleep after a tiring voyage and a more or less sleepless night in New York. ‘It’s when I’m at sea that I get my rest,’ Francis reassured us…