Sailing-Andoo Comanche takes early lead in Sydney Hobart yacht race

Wild Oats also took a penalty turn in an action-packed start that allowed LawConnect to grab the early advantage, only for Comanche to surge ahead after taking the wide line.
Representative image
Representative imageReuters

SYDNEY: Andoo Comanche took a penalty turn inside the opening 20 minutes of the Sydney Hobart yacht race on Monday but still managed to get ahead of the pack, with fellow contenders LawConnect, Black Jack and Hamilton Island Wild Oats close behind. 

Wild Oats also took a penalty turn in an action-packed start that allowed LawConnect to grab the early advantage, only for Comanche to surge ahead after taking the wide line.

The annual 628 nautical-mile (1,170-km) race in the Tasman Sea from Sydney and across Bass Strait to Hobart is one of the world's most difficult yachting events.

A fleet of 109 had lined up for the race after heavy early morning fog on Sydney Harbour, with Comanche's 2017 line honours race record of one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds up for grabs in favourable winds.

The yachts are set to cross the finish line on Wednesday. "It's going to be a really great race to watch," Wild Oats skipper Mark Richards said before the start.

"I think the world's about to find out which is actually the fastest downwind boat in the world. "Is it Comanche? Is it Black Jack? Is it LawConnect? Or is it Hamilton Island Wild Oats? The weather's fantastic and we couldn't have asked for a better forecast."

Black Jack beat LawConnect and SHK Scallywag to claim line honours last year, after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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