SAILING - Cabbage Tree Island Race 2023 - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia - 1/12/2022 ph. Andrea Francolini/CYCA FLEET

Koa claims Overall victory and Andoo Comanche another Line Honours in 2023 Cabbage Tree Island Race


65 boats started the penultimate race in the six-part 2023/24 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore at 1900hrs on Friday evening.

The 172 nautical mile 2023 Cabbage Tree Island Race proved extremely challenging for skippers and tacticians this year as light variable breeze, drizzle and a short-lived thunderstorm tested competitors over the weekend. 

The race also doubled as the opening event for the 2023 Raymarine Australian Maxi Championship hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Nine of the best performance yachts in Australia will be competing in a range of events over five days to claim national titles in both maxi (60 to 79-feet) and mini maxi (80 to 100-foot) divisions.

The Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats X got the best of the start on Sydney Harbour but Andoo Comanche and SHK Scallywag soon got up to speed and rumbled out the Harbour at up to 22 knots. From there, it was tight racing amongst groups of boats of similar sizes all the way to the rounding mark at Cabbage Tree Island, 4nm NE of Port Stephens, and back to the finish off Watsons Bay.

With overall standings changing constantly, at times favouring the mid-size boats, at others, the smaller back-of-fleet and two-handed entries, it was an open affair to the very end.

Ultimately, it was Koa, theTP52 of Andy Kearnan and Peter Wrigley, that claimed victory. They were the twelfth boat across the line, arriving at 1947hrs on Saturday and had a corrected time of 1 day, 9 hours, 30 minutes and 31 second – less than 9 minutes ahead of Richard Harris’ Cookson 50 Sticky, and Mark Spring’s TP52 Highly Sprung a few minutes behind in 3rd.

After the race, Kearnan summed up the win:

“We were very happy with the result. Having come so close on a number of big races this year, it was fantastic to rack up the win. Koa loves the conditions that the Cabbage Tree Race threw at us and we executed well on our race strategy.

“Huge thanks to the great bunch of people who have sailed with us this year. We feel so lucky to have them involved with the boat.”

John ‘Herman’ Winning Jr’s Andoo Comanche once again took Line Honours, arriving back mid-afternoon Saturday in a time of 20 hours, 24 minutes and 17 seconds – well behind the race record set by LawConnect in 2021 (00:15:20:51). The 100-foot VPLP/Verdier 100 maxi averaged 8.4kts over the 172nm course.

Andoo Comanche was pushed very hard though, with rival 100-foot LawConnect leading for much of the race and newly modified SHK Scallywag in contention for much of the journey.


IRC Overall
1st – KOA
2nd – Sticky
3rd – Highly Sprung

IRC Division 1
1st – KOA
2nd – Sticky
3rd – Highly Sprung

IRC Division 2
1st – Mistral(TH)
2nd – Midnight Rambler
3rd –  Supernova

IRC Corinthian
1st – Koa
2nd – Denali
3rd – Midnight Rambler

Wild Rose IRC
1st – Denali
2nd – Pretty Woman
3rd – Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth

1st – Sticky
2nd – Highly Sprung
3rd – Koa

1st – Mistral 
2nd – Philosopher
3rd – Jupiter

1st – Niksen – TeamMichael
2nd – Mistral
3rd – Philosopher

We will see all bar two of the teams from the Cabbage Tree Island Race back for the sixth and final race in the 2023/24 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore – the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which will start on Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day. 

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