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Andoo Comanche posts early lead

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — 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 favorable 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, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds — 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.

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