I just finished racing the Around Block Island distance race May 22nd on the 100 foot custom designed COMANCHE. We had perfect weather for the race and managed to get 1st in class, 1st in fleet, and break the record. Our final elapsed time for the 186 mile race was 11hrs, 25min, 01sec. Oh, and it was an absolute blast!
The boat and sails are nothing short of incredible. She was custom built in Maine late last year with the sole purpose of speed and breaking records. She’s all carbon and weighs about 32 tons. The keel is 22 feet deep and cants 35 degrees, and she has three water ballast tanks each side with 6 tons total capacity, and twin rudders. All the headsails are free flying with above deck furlers, except for the hank-on jibs on the primary headstay. Masthead backstay, but with three adjustable deflectors to each of the different headstay points so you can load the rig back from any point, depending on which headsail option and combination that you’re using. The rig is placed well aft in the boat, with the boom hanging over the transom, and the multiple headsail options, from the tip of the 15 foot bowsprit, to the headstay at the bow and then three staysail tack points, give you sail, size, and balance options for every windspeed and angle. It is the most well thought-out boat I have ever seen, and performs like an absolute tame monster!
The crew for the race was also great. Ken Read is the skipper and he’s assembled an all-star team of around the world sailors that know how to make the most of something this powerful and fast. Our navigator was Stan Honey who was a real pleasure to work with. And Kenny did an awesome job leading the team.
All in all, one of the coolest sailing experiences I’ve ever had. Sailing in 25-30 knots of wind down Long Island sound, with flat water, the A4, and doing a sustained 28kts in complete control. Reaching back in 10-20 knots, with boatspeeds greater than the windspeed, changing between the J1 and the masthead 0. Other than the 40-50 degree temperatures, it was as near perfect as you could ask for.
Big thanks to Ken and the whole team for the incredible race and the experience of it all.
I now hop straight on a plane to my next event, the 6 Meter Worlds in La Tinite sur Mer in France to sail on the 1936 designed and built NADA. How’s that for being able to experience the full spectrum of yacht design, all in the period of one week! Life is good!