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Festival of Sails 2017

Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race - Five retirees overnight

by Damian Devine on 3 Jan 2012
Pretty Woman at the start - 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour race Damian Devine
After the first night of the 2012 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht race five boats have retired.

A quick detour for Richard Hudson’s ‘Pretty Woman’ to drop off an injured crew member into Newcastle provided the backdrop for an eventful and bumpy first night of the race.


With Nick Johnstone’s Lidguard 50 ‘Santana 3’ providing the first retirement for the race with a broken D shroud mid afternoon on day one, he was followed by William Hutchinson’s ‘Freya’ at around 1900hrs with Coffs debutante Brendan Lyons Carter 33 ‘Fast Forward’ and RPAYC’s Jim Bullough’s Catalina 42 ‘Stressfree’ following soon after. At around 2am Kerry Burke’s Northshore 370 ‘Mortgage Choice Rumba’ advised that they too were retiring due to an injury to one of their crew.

For Richard Hudson and his ‘Pretty Woman’ crew, they had to deal with a suspected broken collar bone after one of the crew had a fall after crashing off a wave as they neared Newcastle. He was quickly taken into the Harbour, dropped off at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and escorted by another crew member to hospital. He is reported as comfortable this morning and is recovering in John Hunter hospital. For ‘Mortgage Choice Rumba’, it was reported as an injury to ribs after a fall by one of their crew who was also taken to Newcastle for medical attention. He too was reported to be OK and the boat this morning is making its way back to Pittwater.

All other retirees boats made a safe return to the RPAYC last night. All five boats were competing in the PHS Division.

The 40 remaining boats in the fleet are now spread over 50 miles on the morning of day two, with the leaders making their way around Crowdy Head, still some 98 nautical miles from the finish.

'Future Shock' is holding onto the lead but they have not been able to shake off ‘Spirit of the Maid’ after breaking two headsail Halyards through the night. They currently lead by five nautical miles sailing at eight knots. ‘Future Shock’ skipper Craig Ellis reported earlier today that, 'the breeze had lightened to 10 knots and the seas are down. We’ve changed to our No.1, the first sail change since the start. We’re pushing hard to keep ‘Spirit’ behind us.'

Next in line are the two DK46s, ‘Nine Dragons’ and ’Exile’ in their own little match race, followed by ‘Merlin’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ who has made up immense ground after losing over an hour after their detour to Newcastle. They are now in sight of the leading bunch and just a few miles miles behind. For the bulk of the fleet they are now positioned between Seal Rocks and Forster and are literally in procession, hugging the coast to avoid the current.

Predictwind.com has reported a building sea breeze 10-15knots from the South West between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour for today. Tactically, the majority of the fleet have been sailing within the Rhumb line, riding the surf line in an attempt to get out of the current and stay within the narrow corridor of breeze.

The handicap honours have seen the two DK46s ‘Exile’ and ‘Nine Dragons’ establish some kind of dominance at the top of the IRC leader board with the Sydney 38 ‘Old School’ in third. Behind them are the Beneteau First 40 ‘Blunderbuss’ and the Farr 40 Witchcraft’ but with 100 nautical miles to go, it still is anybody's race. Tactics and crew work today will be vital.

In PHS it’s the RPAYC Commodore’s boat ‘Secret Men’s Business #1’ in the lead from the Coffs Harbour boat ‘B52’, with ‘Future Shock’ currently in third. In the two boat shorthanded Division ‘Dream lover’ leads ‘Isabella’.


According to the Yellow Brick tracker, the first boat is expected to cross the finish line in Coffs Harbour sometime around 1:30am tomorrow with a further eight boats due in before 6am tomorrow morning. Then it will be a procession as the bulk fleet make their way to Coffs Harbour marina throughout the day and into the evening.

Event website.

Positions are updated on the event website every 15 minutes during the race. A brand new addition to the race is the Yellowbrick iPhone App, available on iTunes. Go to the link on the event website to download.

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