Sydney to Hobart 2022: Andoo Comanche wins line honours, results, LawConnect

Andoo Comanche has taken line honours after some late drama in the Sydney to Hobart on Wednesday morning.

The Australian supermaxi was chased all the way into the Derwent as LawConnect made a late fightback as winds died down.

Last year’s runner-up charged into the bay less than seven nautical miles behind the race leader, but wasn’t able to make up the distance as Comanche won the race for the fourth time in a time of 1 day, 11 hours and 56 minutes — three hours outside the record it set in 2017.

The boat, skippered by owner John Winning, earlier pulled clear of its competitors in fast downwind conditions in the blue water classic.

Andoo Comanche was more than 20 nautical miles ahead of second-placed LawConnect on Tuesday evening, 30 hours after the 109-strong fleet set sail from Sydney Harbour.

“We always think we’re going to be the best boat out there and do as well as we can,” Winning said ahead of the race.

“We’ll just try and outsail the others and win it on that.”

There were earlier wild scenes shortly after the starting cannon when Comanche and Wild Oats were forced to make wild turns following near-misses in the Sydney Harbour.

“Protest, get the flag up, that was f***ing bullsh*t,” someone yelled on Andoo Comanche in the first two minutes after being cut off by rival supermaxis LawConnect and Black Jack.

Less than a minute later, one of the crew was heard barking: “you’re asking for a clusterf***, we’re going to be in a collision,” and labelled one rival a “f***ing idiot”.

Comanche hit a turning mark as it exited the heads and was later spotted flying a protest flag of their own, after another boat protested them.

On Wild Oats, which took two penalty turns, skipper Mark Richards could be heard yelling “furl, furl, we are going to do a 720 (penalty turn)”.

The gruelling Sydney-Hobart course has been a happy hunting ground for the Comanche boat, which set the current race record under a different skipper in 2017.

Favourable weather early in the race raised the prospect of toppling that mark, which sits at one day, 9 hours, 15min and 24sec.

While north-to-northeasterly gusts pushed the fleet quickly through treacherous Bass Strait, it was unlikely to be enough for any boat to go under the best time for the 628-nautical mile event.

There were only four yachts in the supermaxi class this year, however, the competition for line honours was fierce.

Black Jack was the defending champion, and Wild Oats is a perennial favourite that has won the race nine times.

Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from the mainland, unleashed perilous conditions.

A deep depression proved catastrophic for the fleet in 1998, when six sailors were killed and 55 more were rescued after five boats sank.

Depending on weather patterns, it will likely take about two to three more days for the smaller boats in the fleet to finish.

Race officials said only three of the original starting line-up had been forced to retire to date.

One of them, 40-foot yacht Yeah Baby, was forced to withdraw less than four hours into the race after reportedly colliding with a sunfish.

International boats returned this year after the race was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Overseas entrants come from Germany (Orione), Hong Kong (Antipodes), Hungary (Cassiopeia 68), New Caledonia (Eye Candy and Poulpito), New Zealand (Caro), Britain (Sunrise) and the United States (Warrior Won.

— with AFP

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