Andoo Comanche leads Sydney race –

Sydney—Australian boat Andoo Comanche held a slim lead in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race Tuesday but will need winds to pick up if it is going to challenge the course’s record time.
About 22 hours after the boats departed Sydney Harbour, Andoo Comanche was leading the three other 100-foot supermaxis—the fastest boats in the blue water classic.
The boat, skippered by owner John Winning, was 16 nautical miles in front of perpetual challenger Wild Oats, according to an online race tracker.
LawConnect was in third while defending champion Black Jack was at the rear of the supermaxi pack.
There were hopes Andoo Comanche could beat the race record time after the fleet took advantage of favourable winds on Monday afternoon, although those conditions lightened overnight.
The race leader will need to make up about 76 nautical miles to challenge the record of one day, 9 hours, 15min and 24sec—set by Comanche under a different skipper in 2017.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecast north to north-easterly winds would build throughout Tuesday to about 35 knots, potentially freeing the fleet for a speedy run through the treacherous Bass Strait to the finish line in the Tasmanian state capital.
Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Arthur Lane, said a record time for the 628-nautical mile race could not be discounted.
“It should be an early evening finish because the winds will increase all day today. It will get fast and furious from here on, and I would expect them to be, before midnight, in Hobart,” he told Nine News.
“They are behind race record at the moment, but the winds are increasing. They are going to be very, very fresh from midday onwards today. So, I think you will find that the record is still quite possible to break.”
While the supermaxis can hit high downwind speeds, they must balance it with the need to avoid breakages and sail damage.
The Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from the mainland, can unleash perilous conditions.
In 1998, a deep depression proved catastrophic for the fleet. Six sailors were killed, and 55 more were rescued after five boats sank.
Race officials said only two of the original 109 boats at sea had been forced to retire to date.

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