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High-tech supermaxi relies on Rivergate

Comanche, the sleek high-tech 100-foot super maxi owned by Netscape founder, Jim Clark and his Australian wife Kristy Hinze Clark, is once again in Australia, undertaking maintenance at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard ahead of taking part in the 73rd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which starts Boxing Day, 26 December.

Comanche owners, Jim and Kristy, who collaborated with skipper, Ken Read and VPLP-Verdier with the sole aim of creating an Open Ocean record-breaking yacht, have a second line honours in their sights, after beating the field in 2015. Kristy Hinze Clark became the first female owner to take line honours in the iconic blue water classic.

She is now making her second visit to Rivergate to undergo routine maintenance ahead of what is deemed one of the world’s most challenging sailing events due to its 630 nautical mile course and unpredictable, potentially extreme conditions.

Tim Hacket, project manager for Comanche, is overseeing the work on site at Rivergate. He says the world’s most technically advanced super maxi chose Rivergate based on recommendations in the US and personal experience of their Boat Captain.

“Casey our Boat Captain grew up in Queensland and knew about Rivergate, and Eli Dana from the Newport Shipyard also told us about Rivergate and its facilities.”

According to Tim, Comanche will be helmed by Ken Read along with “the world’s best navigator” Stan Honey, Casey Smith and the rest of the Sydney-Hobart winning crew of 2015.

“We are looking forward to it,” says Tim referring to this year’s challenge. “This is one of the biggest and most prestigious offshore yacht races in the world.”

Constructed of pre-preg carbon fibre, resulting in an extremely light and strong hull, Comanche features a canting keel, daggerboards, water ballast and large sail area, a wide, shallow hull and high power-to-weight ratio.

Known to her owners, crew and supporters as the ‘Fat Bottom Girl’, this carbon-fibre weapon was launched in 2014 and already has an impressive trophy cabinet to her name. Comanche’s accomplishments include setting the 24-hour monohull speed record of 618.01 miles (travelling at an average speed of 25.75 kts); line honours in the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race; breaking the Newport Bermuda Race record by almost 5 hours; setting the new Transatlantic monohull West East record of 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes, 25 seconds (over 24 hours faster than the previous record).

Andrew Cannon, Rivergate General Manager, says hosting Comanche is an honour, given its pedigree.

“Rivergate is the yard of choice for superyachts, commercial craft and sailing yachts because of its deep-water access, large space for all the vessels’ spares storage and open areas for the crew to layout monster sails and masts.

“Rivergate provides lots of open space and world-class service that makes the crews feel welcome and brings them back year after year.”

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