• Ronnie Hitches a ride On Comanche

    Video of Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant's custom VPLP 100 supermaxi racing yacht 'Comanche'
    preparing for the 2019 Transpacific yacht race. Recorded July 2019 in Long Beach, CA.
    Filming and editing by Ronnie Simpson


    With the allure of Transpac 50 being felt both near and far, it was only fitting that Comanche, the fastest monohull on earth and current monohull course record holder, would come up from Australia to help headline what is a record setting fleet. 100 feet long and extremely powered up, Comanche is a beast of a boat that when unleashed across more than 2,000 miles of open water is capable of eating up miles en masse, as witnessed by her 2017 Transpac course record-setting run of 5 days 1 hour and 55 minutes. Changing owners since 2017, the boat is now owned by Jim Cooney and family, many of which will be sailing as crew on the one-off VPLP designed supermaxi. While the owners may have changed, the focus has remained the same, and that is to be the fastest monohull entered and to have a shot at her own course record.

    Cooney, a veteran skipper and big boat owner hailing from Sydney, has been campaigning his yachts with his entire family for many years, and onboard Comanche it will be no different. Sailing alongside his two sons James and Doug and wife Samantha, nearly one-quarter of the 17-strong crew will be in the same immediate family. “The important thing for us is sailing our boats together… it’s not just a passion of mine that they’ve tagged along with, this is something that we do together as a family, and that’s why we do this”, explains Owner and Skipper Jim Cooney. His eldest son James began “subtly whispering the words Transpac in my ear over the past twelve months”, and eventually the idea stuck.

    With the boat being transported to California via ship, the team is now on the water and conducting sail testing, crew training and continual sea trials up until their Saturday July 13 Transpac start off of Long Beach. Having been converted from manual winches to hydraulic-powered winches before the last Hobart race, the boat is sailing even lighter than she did in the last Transpac where she set her course record, and she can maneuver much quicker as well. With sailing master Mike Sanderson of Doyle Sails having recently joined the program, the yacht has also switched from North to Doyle Sails, where Sanderson credits much of Comanche’s recent performance gains to the company’s cable-less technology furling sails.

    Navigator Stan Honey reports that current conditions for Comanche are looking slower than her 2017 record, though there is still plenty of time for that to change. Always keenly aware of what the Cal 40’s are doing, he relates that conditions are looking “better and better for a reasonable passage of about 13 days.”

    Comanche will begin the 50th Transpac race on Saturday July 13.

    - Ronnie Simpson
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2019 Transpac Official Thread started by Photoboy View original post