Andoo Comanche the boat to beat after Sydney Harbour Big Boat Challenge victory

“I lost sleep last night thinking how close it was, but that’s the game and those are the stakes.”

Wenning told the story in response to the Comanche’s irresistible preference for Sydney to Hobart this year.

“We can’t be complacent, we can’t be comfortable because when we do, mistakes will happen,” he said.

Captain John Winning and the crew of the mega yacht Comanche celebrate Tuesday's Big Boat Challenge victory.

Captain John Winning and the crew of the mega yacht Comanche celebrate Tuesday’s Big Boat Challenge victory.Credit: Jenny Barrett

“There were two 100ft masts weighing 30 tons each and we got within a meter of both masts at very high speed. It could have been really bad and I take full responsibility for how close it was.

“These are big, fast, dangerous ships with low visibility and big, powerful sails. It takes a lot of really, really good sailors and a lot of experience to make it all fit together and look seamless.

“If it wasn’t seamless, it was a disaster. The guys on one side thought they knew what they were talking about on the other side, but the words weren’t clear because the winch, the engine and five guys were yelling at the same time.

“Communications on our ship were really bad, and as the captain, I put my hand up and said, ‘It has to be better than that’ and ‘I take responsibility’. It was definitely a wake-up call.”

LawConnect will be the main challengers for the Comanches, finishing second in a row ahead of the 2021 Sydney leg this week, beating Hobart champions Black Jack.

Near misses aside, LawConnect owner and skipper Christian Beck is ecstatic about his crew’s progress, should he step down again as bridemaids when the Boxing Day race begins.

“If the Comanches weren’t here, we’d look really good right now, but they’re here, so we’ve got to make the most of the situation,” Baker said.

“From Sydney to Hobart, we can only really win if Hermann makes a mistake, but we’re hopeful; otherwise we might end up in second place.

“I made some mistakes,” Wen Ning quipped bluntly.

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