Andoo Comanche has claimed Line Honours in the 2022 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast, on the legendary boat’s return to the Australian racing scene.
The VPLP 100, skippered by John Winning Jr, crossed the line in 1 day, 17 hours, 55 minutes and 43 seconds to claim her first win in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast.
Andoo Comanche, formerly named Comanche, returned to Australia after a successful two years of racing abroad.
In his first race at the helm, Winning Jr steered the boat to another major win, holding off the challenge of fellow 100-footers Black Jack and Hamilton Island Wild Oats.
"We knew it wasn’t the forecast for us, but we need to learn how to sail in all conditions," the skipper said.
"I was taught to focus on your weakness, not your strength. Everyone likes doing what they’re good at, but it’s nailing the things you’re not good at that’s important.
"We just wanted to hang in there in the light breeze and wait for our moments. Luckily we got some moments in this race.
"A huge thank you to our navigators and tacticians for putting us in the right spots and taking advantage of those opportunities."
The 384 nautical mile race from Sydney Harbour to Gold Coast didn’t produce ideal conditions for Andoo Comanche, with light winds providing a tactical challenge for the boat which relishes high speed on the water.
On the second day at sea, she traded positions with Black Jack and ultimately surged clear with around 150nm to go after an inspired tactical decision.
Andoo Comanche went well out to sea and found enough in the NNE breeze to get moving up to 16-17 knots.
"Originally we thought we might need to take some risks and do some splits, but then we thought we’d stay in the same water as them (Black Jack and Hamilton Island Wild Oats) and wait for our moments," Winning Jr said.
"We were quite confident that if we went the same way, we’d have a pretty good race on our hands anyway with the way the wind was building, and we got to a point where our navigators backed themselves.
"Will Oxley had a plan to go offshore and get a bit of an eddy on the tide and current. We did that, it worked out really well.
"Everything they predicted had happened so it’s a credit to them that we were able to do that and we probably won by more of a margin than if we’d gone in the same water as the others – if we would have won at all."
This is the start of a two-year charter for Winning Jr, with a packed program of racing including the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
It’s the perfect introduction for the skipper and his crew of accomplished sailors (Colin Beashel, Seve Jarvin, Pablo Arrarte, Justin Shaffer and Will Oxley among the illustrious list this race, while Iain Murray is Sailing Master).
"Just competing with boats the same size is fun," Winning Jr added.
"They’ve got their moments, we’ve got our moments and it’s a snakes and ladders battle.
"I’m always learning. It was a whole learning process."
Peter Harburg’s Reichel/Pugh 100 Black Jack, skippered by Mark Bradford, was second over the line in 1 day, 19 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds.
While Hamilton Island Wild Oats, skippered by Mark Richards, was third in 1 day, 20 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.