Andoo Comanche to return and defend Rolex Sydney Hobart title

John ‘Herman’ Winning Jr has set his sights on back-to-back Line Honours wins in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with Andoo Comanche after the maxi claimed this year’s title.

Early this morning, Winning Jr skippered the champion 100-footer to its fourth Line Honours victory, but his first with the boat he has on a lease that expires in April 2024.

Winning said: “We’ve got the boat. We will be coming back for sure. We’re not trying to come second. We’re here to win every race that we do.

“This boat doesn’t deserve to come second; certainly not when it’s in its prime. Until the foiling boats outdate this boat she should always be going out there trying to win Line Honours.”

However, for now, Winning Jr and his crew will continue to celebrate their success in this year’s race, secured when they crossed the finish line at 12:56.48am today.

Their winning time of 1 day 11 hours 56 minutes 48 seconds was just outside the race record for the 628 nautical mile race.

But their victory was nonetheless an impressive one in the fast downwind conditions which were created by the north-north easterly winds that prevailed for their entire journey south.

Second to finish at 1:23.19am was Christian Beck’s LawConnect in 1 day 12 hours 23 minutes 19 seconds.

Third at 1:40.34am was Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, skippered by Mark Bradford. The Oatley Family’s Hamilton Island Wild Oats, skippered by Mark Richards, crossed at 2:38.13am

Both Andoo Comanche and LawConnect also finished with their protest flags no longer up.

For Winning Jr, who was aboard Perpetual Loyal for her victory in 2016, it was a special result. It was his first as skipper – and his father, John ‘Woody’ Winning – was also aboard.

“The moments are still sinking in,” Winning Jr said. “It just didn’t feel real until the last minute.

“Once it started sinking in, I just started thinking about who went into making it all possible.”

Andoo Comanche’s win added another chapter to its history. It was its fourth Line Honours win after 2015, 2017 (record that still holds) and 2019. It is also the first boat to win under three different owners.

American Jim Clark and his Australian wife, Kristy Hinze Clark, were the original owners of the yacht designed by Verdier Yacht Design and VPLP. They launched Comanche in 2015 and took Line Honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart that year.

The Clarks sold the boat to Jim Cooney and his wife Samantha Grant, who renamed the yacht LDV Comanche and took Line Honours and the race record of 1 day 9 hours 15 minutes 24 seconds in 2017, returning as Comanche in 2019, to take Line Honours again.

LawConnect’s owner, Christian Beck, was more than happy about finishing second behind Andoo Comanche, especially in conditions that did not suit his boat.

“We thought we were going to come fourth in these conditions, so second was beyond our expectations,” said Beck, for whom it was his fifth campaign on the boat.

“I’m very proud of it. The boat’s not that good, but the crew is awesome. For us to be half an hour behind Comanche and ahead of Wild Oats and Black Jack is incredibly good for us.”

Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford said this Rolex Sydney Hobart might be the last for Peter Harburg’s yacht, which won Line Honours last year.

“We’re going to head to Europe next year,” he said. “We’re going to go where the winds are light. We’re getting out of here!”

As for this year’s race, Bradford said: “It was a totally different race to last year, just an easy downwind race. No real dramas. Everyone should get here safely and yet have a great race.

“It was always going to be a close race, this race. Halfway through, Comanche had a pretty healthy lead and then towards the end, it came back into sort of 12 miles or so to us and six to LawConnect. I think that’s probably a fair result for everyone, really, to be honest.

“Comanche is a great boat with a great crew. They sail it well, obviously; but to be 12 miles behind after 628 nautical miles in what is their conditions? We’re pretty happy with that.”

Rupert Guinness/RSHYR Media

Sailworld_Banner_600x500
M.O.S.S Australia
MultiHull-Central-HH44
Arcus-x-Cyclops-banner
Sailworld_Banner_600x500
M.O.S.S Australia
NAV at Home
Arcus-x-Cyclops-banner