2014-10-23 / Naval Community

There’s a New Rig in Port

By Tom Shevlin

It was hard not to notice the towering mast and menacing black hull set against the lone cruise ship just outside of Newport Harbor earlier this month.

When her sail went up, there was little doubt: this was a new beast Newport’s sailing community hadn’t seen before.

Launched earlier this month at Newport Shipyard, the 100-foot custom carbon maxi strikes an impressing – and imposing - profile. Dubbed Comanche, she was built for one purpose: to sail with abandon and shatter course records.

On Tuesday, Oct. 14, she had a bit of a workout at the hands of Ken Read, a veteran of multiple America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns who has a penchant for speed. Onlookers couldn’t help but be impressed.

Designed by the French team of Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prevost (VPLP) and built by Hodgdon Yachts in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Comanche is the latest build for Silicon Valley mogul Jim Clark.

Overall, she measures 100 feet LOA and 26 feet wide. And, as Sailing World noted earlier this summer, “a lot of carbon-fiber” – 8 tons in all between the deck and hull.

Since splashing earlier this month, the rig has been causing quite a stir both locally and abroad, with Internet sailing publications gushing with headlines like “The Sea Will Never be the Same.”

Currently, the crew is readying for a jaunt down to Charleston, S.C., where she will be shipped overseas to start what her owners are sure to hope will be a record-breaking career. First up: the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race in December.

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