Jim Cooney sailed Comanche to line honours and a new record in the Bird Island Race, crossing the finish line at 04:08:27 hours on Saturday, in the time of 6hrs 8mins 27secs, just 25 minutes ahead of Peter Harburg’s Black Jack and a further six minutes to Christian Beck’s InfoTrack, setting up for a thrilling showdown come the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
The raced marked a third new record for Comanche in the Blue Water Pointscore series.
“This year we’ve set out to prove the boat’s credentials and have worked hard on our light-air performance and downwind depth. I think that work is now shining through and the team has really come together,” Cooney said.
Cooney’s attention now turns towards the greatest race on the Australian sailing calendar, the Rolex Sydney Hobart, starting on Boxing Day. With five super-maxis entered and an exceptional line-up throughout, it has been described as the toughest fleet in the history of the event.
Black Jack also finished inside the previous record, held by the conventionally keeled Loki, the RP63 owned by Stephen Ainsworth. Loki, however, still holds the race's conventionally ballasted record, set in 2011, the same year Ainsworth won the Sydney Hobart.
The battle is now on for overall victory, currently led by Matt TP52 Ichi Ban, with Sam Haynes’ TP52 Celestial in second and Comanche third.