Comanche takes an early lead in the Sydney to Hobart

AMERICAN Jim Clark's Super Maxi Comanche has smoked the start of the Sydney to Hobart  streaking to an early lead in the 70th edition of the 628 nautical mile blue water yacht classic.

The super lightweight 100-foot super maxi made it to the first turning mark in a sizzling 4m.35 seconds - the quickest start to the race since 1945.

She was being chased by line honours favourite Wild Oats XI, Syd Fischer's legendry Ragamuffin and  NSW giant Perpetual Loyal, whose crew include world champion boxer, Danny, Green, former Wallaby Phil Waugh and world surfing champion Sally Fitzgibbons.

Comanche, a $40 million investment, is having her first race start and will be tested in the upwind conditions expected to get 25-28 knots where he skipper and crew will have to work out how much hammering she can handle if pushed too hard.

With spinnakers up and jibs trimmed the big fleet of 117 boats made a spectacular sight heading out of Sydney Heads.

The boats will cross the infamous Bass Strait and sail around Tasman Island to the finish line at Constitution Dock in the Derwent River where the first boat is expected on Sunday around lunch time.

The forecast is for sou-westerly winds reaching up to 30 knots with a one to 1.5 metre swell, making conditions later today very gnarly before the winds ease down the NSW coast.

After 30 minutes of racing, Comanche's early lead was being eaten away by Wild Oats who as a seven-time line honours winner will be at home in the upwind conditions.


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