Heavyweight American supermaxi Comanche will shed some human cargo to lighten her load for this year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Eight-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI beat second-placed Comanche by 49 minutes in the race to Hobart last year, when the American boat made her ocean racing debut.
Comanche skipper Ken Read has revealed he will cut his crew by around 20 per cent from 24 in 2014 to 19 or 20 this year.
That could mean a 500kg reduction or more and a potential increase in boat speed.
"We've learned how to sail her with fewer people," Read said.
One valuable additional piece of human cargo will be America's Cup-winning skipper James Spithill, who hasn't raced on the imposing boat.
Comanche's record since the 2014 Hobart has been impeccable.
This year, in winning line honours in the Transatlantic race from Newport to the Lizard, she set a new 24-hour sailing record for a monohull, 618.01 nautical miles, which is an average of more than 25 knots.
Since last year's loss to Wild Oats XI, Comanche has taken the fastest time in the three major races on her agenda: the 185 nautical mile Stamford to Block Island race in the United States, the 2800 nautical mile Transatlantic race and Rolex Fastnet race.
There are 110 entries in this year's Sydney to Hobart race, including a record 28 international yachts.