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).
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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



No one will remember which boat will win the Sydney-Hobart rave on corrected time. Comanche was first to finish and did so in spectacular style. I thought a smaller boat would have survived the southerly buster while the 100 footers would have all withdrawn with damage. Hats off the the seamanship.

Meanwhile in the southern atlantic both IDEC and Spindrift are losing ground by the minute to the “Ghost” Banque Populaire.




Spin-position-Dec27 IDEC-pos-Dec-27


It is Boxing Day and the start of the Sydney-Hobart race. The weather has lived up to the prediction and the big boats have hit the Southerly Buster. Once through it the winds lighten and the small boats may catch up.



Sydney to Hobart: Wild Oats XI building its lead at the halfway mark as Comanche stalls


Wild Oats XI has started to break away from Comanche in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race but a change in the weather could favour the American supermaxi.

At the halfway point, Comanche has stalled in the light conditions to be one of the slowest vessels in the fleet.

Travelling at 12-15 knots – almost twice Comanche’s speed – Wild Oats XI has extended its lead to 27 nautical miles with the chasing pack a further 20 behind.

Race spokesman Jim Gale said Comanche was by no means out of the running.

“A lot depends on the strength of the breeze,” he said.

“It’s going to be down to which boat gets the best weather conditions for its design.”

Rachel McInerney from the weather bureau said the wind will pick up significantly overnight and into tomorrow.

“Around lunch time tomorrow, down the east coast of Tasmania we are expecting north-north-easterly winds of around 15 to 25 knots,” she said.

Stronger winds were expected to favour Comanche but the leading boats were not expected to round Tasman Island until early Sunday afternoon.

The race is expected to finish in the early evening.

Comanche was first out of the Sydney Heads and held its lead over Wild Oats running into a strong southerly that forced eight boats to retire.

But as the wind died down, Wild Oates hit the front off Gabo Island at about 10am AEDT Saturday and led the fleet into a becalmed Bass Strait.

Defending champion Wild Oats XI is striving for three straight wins and a record eight in total.

Wild Oats spokesman Rob Mundle said the crew was not taking anything for granted.

“That lead that Wild Oats XI has now could be eliminated very, very quickly,” he said.

It will be a three-boat finish, says Ragamuffin crew

Despite trailing the leaders, the crew of third-placed yacht Ragamuffin 100 said they were still in with a chance of winning the race.

Having slowed down to protect the their boat in heavy seas on Friday night, they said they predicted the wind would turn in their favour and deliver them to the mouth of the Derwent at the same time as the leaders.

“We believe the leaders are going to run into a hole and stop,” said sailing master David Witt.

“And our routing is telling us that it’s going to be very exciting and all three boats are going to arrive at Tasman Light [Tasman Island] at the same time.”

Witt’s boat was gaining on Comanche but not Wild Oats.

“We’re three knots quicker already and that’s just going to build over the next 10 to 12 hours,” he said.

Eight yachts withdraw after overnight battering

Overnight, hopes of reaching Hobart’s Constitution Dock were dashed for Supermaxi Perpetual Loyal and seven other crews.

Perpetual Loyal briefly led the race on Friday but was forced to retire with a damaged hull.

Race officials said it had a delaminating bow and would head back to Sydney for repairs.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek

VIDEO: Former winner Perpetual Loyal retires damaged(ABC News)

Crewman Tom Slingsby said the yacht may have hit something at about 9:00pm before the hull started taking on water.

“We’re not exactly sure what happened. We were coming off some big waves, but we also could have hit something during the night when we were falling off these waves,” he said.

The fleet was battered by stiff southerly winds and rough seas until late on Friday night.

Former line honours winner Brindabella was among the casualties.

The 21-year-old maxi was forced to retire after it started taking on larger than normal quantities of water.

Brindabella’s sailing master, Brad Kellett, said the excess water was coming from damages to the yacht’s rudder bearings.

“We were just coming into our own after a risky tactical decision to go offshore paid off,” he said.

“No-one is hurt.”

Other yachts to retire were Triton, Tina of Melbourne, Bear Necessity, Occasional Coarse Language, Willyama and Last Tango.

More than 100 yachts remain in the 628-nautical-mile journey that will end on the River Derwent.