2015 Sydney Hobart Winners Watching From a Distance

It has now done both, most recently smashing the trans-Atlantic monohull record with a time of 5 days 14 hours 21 minutes in July.


Ken Read, winning skipper of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race last year, is sitting out this year’s race.

Andrea Francolini

But finishing first in the Hobart race last year stirred the most satisfaction and emotion, even more so because Hinze-Clark was on board Comanche, which was in danger of not finishing because of breakage on the first night.

“I’d say the finish was right up there in amazing experiences in my sailing career,” said Read, 55, a former America’s Cup helmsman and Volvo Ocean Race skipper. “It was really Jim’s dream: The local Australian girl makes good, comes home and does something nobody else has done before. Jim kind of wrote that script around three and a half years ago, and just kind of nailed it.”

For now, there is no sequel in the works.

“It’s a lot of money, it’s millions of dollars you know,” Read said of the cost of taking Comanche and its high-profile crew to Australia. “When we hit the dock and won the race, one of the questions from the press was, ‘Are you coming back?’ And Jim said: ‘I’ve got to tell you, it’s too expensive. I don’t think so.’ He said that right there on the spot, which I was really surprised at because he didn’t allow himself to get caught up in the emotion.”

Several members of Comanche’s 2015 crew are taking part in this year’s race on other yachts. Read said the team was discussing a return to the Hobart race with Comanche in 2017, but for the moment the focus has shifted to another of the Clarks’ prized possessions: Hanuman. It is a J-Class yacht: a modern replica of the grand America’s Cup yachts of the early 20th century.

Read recently returned from Florida, where he was sailing Hanuman in preparation…

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