new member of the tribe

With just 11 days to go before the start of the 628-mile Sydney-Hobart race, Comanche has been sold to an Australian millionaire determined to win line honours ahead of the three other 100-footers in the race – all also now owned by Australians.
News broke overnight that US internet mogul Jim Clark had sold the boat he reportedly spent more than $20 million building to Sydney-based Jim Cooney, owner of both the Volvo speedster Maserati and former Sydney-Hobart line honours winner Brindabella. Rumored price was $10 million.
For months the local waterfront had swirled with rumours as to a likely sale of the black-and-red VPLP monster. Left as piggy-in-the-middle of yesterday’s deal is Neville “Croaky” Crichton who had chartered the boat for this year’s Hobart race. New owner Cooney has now listed Crichton as a crew member, along with America’s Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill and US navigator Stan Honey.
One of the ironies of the four-way battle for supermaxi supremacy when the race starts on Boxing Day is that Crichton will be racing against one of his old boats, now named Black Jack. As Alfa Romeo, that RP 100 is one of the few boats to have beaten Wild Oats XI to Hobart when Crichton won line honours in 2009.
The fourth 100-footer in the Sydney-Hobart lineup is Infotrack, originally named Speedboat, then Rambler 100 and, until a few months ago, Loyal. Recently bought by a local yachtsman of limited offshore experience, the Juan-K supermaxi was first home in the 2017 race and holds the elapsed time record of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds.
It seems that the annual dash south from Sydney Harbour to the Derwent River finishing line in Tasmania is now the only event in the world that still attracts these mastodons of the sea. – Anarchist David.