Okay, okay we give up. They rule. Sort of.
I had been tempted to take another jab at Comanche, the 100-foot sloop owned by Jim and Kristy Clark, as they led the Newport-Bermuda fleet toward Bermuda. I was waiting for the jubilant press release about how they had beaten all the other boats in the race without mentioning that second largest boat in the race is just under 30 feet shorter than them. But there was no press release and instead they set a new race record so instead of a jab here is my heartfelt congratulation to the Ken Read, the owners Jim and Kristy Clark, and the entire Comanche crew. Well done that was quite an achievement.
My beef with Comanche is that I have always felt that it’s an unimaginative design. It looks like they took a VOR 65 and enlarged it on a photo copier. I feel that with that kind of money and talent they could have pushed the boundaries a little, but that’s just my opinion. They built what they wanted and have done an excellent job so far winning the Sydney-Hobart Race earlier this year and now setting a new Bermuda Race record.
I am also walking back my criticism of Ms Clark. I had an issue with the press celebrating her as the first female owner to win the Hobart Race when my perception was that she was just a trophy wife of a rich man. But as I said I am walking back what I wrote because it’s not really fair. I spent the weekend relaxing with my family doing just about nothing. Jim and Kristy Clark were out there dealing with the rough conditions. By most accounts Kristy is a very active member of the crew and works as hard as the rest of the team to help the achieve their successes. So I don’t feel that I have a right to criticize. I was in a warm bed Friday night; they were on a wet boat pounding through the Gulf Stream so hats off to them.
The previous race record was held by Rambler and Comanche managed to knock a full four and a half hours off their time to finish in 34 hours and 52 minutes. That’s quite an accomplishment. The second place boat, Maximizer, a Farr 72 was scheduled to finish a day behind Comanche so they really did leave the fleet in the dust, so to speak. So no jab. Instead an acknowledgment that Jim Clark and his (by all accounts) lovely wife have chosen to spend millions of dollars in the sport that we all love and it has only bettered the sport. So thank you and again congratulations. – Brian Hancock.