Four Aussie-owned supermaxis in classic

COMANCHE: The 2015 Sydney-Hobart line-honours winner is now owned by Sydney’s Jim Cooney.AUSTRALIA can’t conjure an America’s Cup challenge for love or money – particularly money – but at least we’re now home to the world’s four fastest supermaxis.

Sydney’s Jim Cooney has just bought the 2015 Sydney-Hobart line-honours victor Comanche from its American owner Jim Clark, adding to fleet that includes former Newcastle-berthed yacht Infotrack (ex-Loyal) and sisterships Wild Oats XI and Black Jack.

Come Boxing Day, all will be on the start line for the Sydney-Hobart classic.

All have won line honours previously and stand an even chance of repeating that success, given favourable conditions.

CLASSIC: Winner of the 1971 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Kialoa II has been restored by brothers Paddy and Keith Broughton. Photo: Rolex, Kurt Arrigo

Black Jack looks the likely winner if winds remain light, having taken bragging rights over Wild Oats XI in last week’s Solas Big Boat Challenge.It’s the lightest of the group and sports a pivoting foil forward that can serve as a trim tab when lifting upwind.

Comanche didn’t contest the Challenge but is now fully crewed and ready to roll. Cooney, who also owns the evergreen Brindabella and the Volvo 70 Maserati, simply found it too difficult to resist the wide-beamed 100-footer’s broad appeal.

“Without a doubt it’s the most modern and fastest supermaxi in the world. It’s a beautiful boat which has been sitting in Australia, ready to race … and too good to pass up.” he said.

“With four supers on the line it promises to be one of the best races in the history of the event. You don’t see that anywhere else in the world.”

Comanche’s track record includes the 24-hour sailing distance record for monohulls and the trans-Atlantic crossing record of 5 days, 14 hours. It won the Fastnet Race in the UK and this year smashed the monohull record in the Transpac race with an average speed of 20 knots.

Turning back the clock will be the classic 73-foot, 45-tonne S&S yawl Kialoa II which was built for American ocean racer Jim Kilroy in 1963 but has been restored by sailing brothers Paddy and Keith Broughton. Highlights included winning the 1971 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 3 days 12 hours 46 minutes – a time that would’ve placed it 68th last year.

There’s a mixture of Australian and British crews aboard for 2017, all sporting terry-toweling hats in a nod to the 70s.Handicap favourites include Matt Allen’s new Botin 52 Ichi Ban, the Botin 80 Beau Geste and the TP52 Quest which is better known as Paul Clitheroe’s Balance.

Turning back, meanwhile, will be the Newcastle TP52 Frantic owned by former Wallaby winger Mick Martin. He has signed up for the double header of the Sydney-Hobart – racing under the South Korean flag as Sonic – then the Pittwater to Paradise race startingJanuary 2. That’s close to 2000 nautical miles of ocean racing and deliveries over 10 days, with a quick refuel at Constitution Dock.

“As soon as the boat gets to Hobart we are banging it back for the Pittwater-Southport race with some of the delivery guys plus back-up crew off the bench,” Martin said, mixing his sporting terminology.He is hoping for a southerly tailwind heading north, saying: “We like heading north, there’s much less paperwork than going south.”

Around 30 boats are listed for The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club event, comprising the 370-mile ocean race then a four-day short course series hosted by the Southport Yacht Club from January 6-9.

It includes the Queensland Yachting Championship, AMS Queensland Championship and Australian Sports Boat Association Queensland Championship.

Fishing for more powerWE’RE all in a rush these days, but none more so than the Victorian fisherman who fitted twin 350hp Mercury Verado outboards to a CamCraft 6.8 runabout that’s good for 65 knots.

Owner Neil Robertson originally ordered an eight-metre hull, which was delayed. So he asked builder Cam Strachan to put them on the 6.8 and immediately thought “this is perfect”.

The mechanic who fitted the motors admitted: “Putting 700hp on a six-metre boat is a bit out of the norm but the outcome is mind-blowing. My phone doesn’t stop ringing now with people asking about adding more power to their boats.”

More affordable rigJUST when you thought you couldn’t afford a high-tech wake-surfing rig, Chaparral Surf has launched a range of H2o bowriders priced under $100k.

The all-new 21 Surf model boasts the wake-shaping technology seen on its more expensive stablemates, including the Malibu Surf Gate system and water ballast. Power is via Volvo Penta’s forward-facing drive, which tucks the propellers out of harm’s way.

“With people all over Australia now surfing behind our boats, the technology has filtered down to our H2o range,” Chaparral Australia’s Scott O’Hare said. “We can offer first-time boat owners an affordable way into one of the world’s fastest growing social sports.”

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