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Comanche wins the 75th Sydney to Hobart

LDV Comanche outside the Sydney Heads during the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2017 at Rushcutters Bay on December 26, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images)
27th December, 2019
5

Supermaxi Comanche has taken out the 75th edition of the Sydney to Hobart, but not before some nervous moments on a windless River Derwent.

The massive yacht fished the bluewater classic just after 7.30am (AEDT) on Saturday to win line honours for the third time in five years.

Comanche made the most of strong overnight winds to break away from a five-strong pack of supermaxis down Tasmania’s east coast.

But she slowed in the River Derwent, hampered by light winds.

“That was dramatic. That was 30 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. It was really very stressful,” skipper Tim Cooney said.

Comanche crossed the line in a time of one day, 18 hours, 30 minutes and 24 seconds, about 45 minutes ahead of InfoTrack in second place.

Nine-time winner Wild Oats XI held off Hong Kong’s SHK Scallywag 100 by a mere 38 seconds to finish third across the line at about 9.30am (AEDT).

Comanche’s celebrations were subdued at Hobart’s Constitution Dock after several nights of intense racing.

The yacht fell behind on Friday morning but regained the lead in the afternoon after taking a wider Bass Strait route to pick up winds.

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“It was a long night. Everybody is pretty tired,” Cooney said.

“We treated the race as a sprint, we didn’t take too many breaks. We wanted crew on deck all the time. It was relief more than elation.

“We put the boat where we wanted it to be. It all went very much to plan, the weather was what we expected.”

Comanche ran into a bit of strife near Tasman Island, where an unknown object wrapped around the yacht’s rudder rendered it immobile.

“We were in a little bit of drama for a short period of time,” Cooney said, adding it didn’t cost him much time.

Comanche’s previous wins were in 2015 and 2017, the latter coming in race-record time after Wild Oats XI was stripped of the title in a post-race protest.

NSW boat Minerva became the fleet’s third retirement overnight, reducing the number of yachts in the race to 154.

© AAP