Published: Friday, 29 December 2017

Jim Cooney’s LDV Comanche grabbed the line honour and race record in the 73rd offshore Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, after a phenomenal contest on an on-water incident with the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI in the protest room.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Record Goes To Ldv Comanche 1 

(Photo: Rolex - LDV Comanche's crew receiving the award)

Wild Oats XI was initially crowned the winner of the race, with a record-breaking lead of 26 minutes ahead of her nearest rival.

But a penalty hour was added to her official finishing time, when an international jury accused the crew of failing to keep clear of LDV Comanche when at the start of the race.

The initial provisional result was reversed to give Cooney a first line honours victory with his new boat in a record time of one day nine hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, bettering by 4 hours 15 minutes 56 seconds the previous benchmark set in 2016.

At the dockside prize giving, Cooney and his crew were rewarded for their success with the J.H. Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex timepiece.

“It was an exhilarating race. I loved every minute of it. The boat exceeded my expectations and who’d have thought we’d finish on the December 27 turning the Hobart into an overnighter,” said the winning skipper.

“The real race was on the water,” Cooney continued. “The result is a fitting testament to the crew and the potential of the boat. The guys were fantastic. Stan Honey is not just a navigator, he is the navigator. Jimmy Spithill, too, is brilliant. Nothing escapes his attention anywhere on the water or around him.”

Veteran navigator, Honey, on his sixth Rolex Sydney Hobart and previously a line-honours winner in 2015, said: “The conditions suited Comanche, but it’s always a challenge in a 100-footer in that kind of wind to sail the boat in such a way that you don’t break stuff.

“We had a lot of very good sailors paying very careful attention and my decisions were geared to giving us the fastest passage.”