Supermaxi Comanche has won the line honours in the 75th edition of the Sydney to Hobart, but not before some nervous moments on a windless River Derwent.
The massive yacht finished the bluewater classic just after 7.30am on Saturday to win line honours for the third time in five years.
Comanche snatched the narrowest of Sydney to Hobart leads, with all five supermaxis locked in a tight cat-and-mouse battle across Bass Strait.
About eight nautical miles separated the pack of massive yachts at 5pm (AEDT) on Friday, with the lead switching hands several times across the day.
Comanche was less than a mile ahead of InfoTrack, while Hong Kong’s SHK Scallywag 100 dropped to third after leading early in the afternoon. Comanche, a two-time winner, has made the most of a more easterly route into Bass Strait. The 75th edition of the race has picked up pace courtesy of a north-easterly breeze, which could reach 30 knots into the evening.
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.
“It was a long night. Everybody is pretty tired,” Cooney said.