The Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race 2013 continued to deliver the drama and excitement sailing fans craved for as Steven Proud’s Kernan 44 Swish nipped David Forbes Kaiko 52 Merlin by 10 seconds to take the final spot on the line honours podium.
The close finish between Swish and Merlin after 226 nautical miles - 2013 Club Marine Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta
Swish took an inside lane to overtake Merlin as they gybed for the harbour entrance then held on for a sweet third place on line honours crossing the line at 3:21pm this afternoon in a time of 26hrs 21mins 45secs.
They, along with Bruce Hogan and Tina Clifton’s sporty Marten 45 Perpetual Mocean had their own race within a race up the coast to Coffs.
Skipper Steven Proud was very happy to cross the line ahead of Merlin particularly after getting in front yesterday before breaking their bow pole. He said dockside post race, 'Very happy, it was a great race. We had Merlin yesterday before breaking our bow pole. They got back in front and we had to jury rig our pole which worked and we managed to inch our way back.
'We knew we were always a chance if we stayed within range despite the fact they are a much bigger boat. Coming to the finish we were in the favoured position and managed to get inside him and gybe in front. It was very exciting coming through the harbour to the finish. We were all remained focused until we hit the finish line.'
Proud, who had to replace the keel on her before the race, said of the untested Swish in blue water, 'she was great, had brilliant power and very happy with her performance.'
For Perpetual Mocean, she was the first boat home for the host club the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club finishing 18 minutes later. Crossing the line was made even more special as they had on board seven RPAYC youth development squad aged between 16 and 19 savouring their first blue water ocean race and posting another dimension to their sailing CV’s.
Twelve months in the making it was the generosity of the owners Hogan and Clifton, who tasted success in this race with line honours victory in 2009, which allowed it to happen. The youth development boys and girls had plenty of experience to guide them being mentored by the likes of Peter Gregg, Mitch Watkins, Cameron Baillie and past youth development graduates Murray Gordon and 24 year old tactician Tom Spithill, brother of defending AC skipper James.
A tired and emotional Spithill said, 'we had a good race and the YD kids performed exceptionally well in their first serious blue water race. Everyone is really happy, we had a pleasant trip and a good race within a race with Swish and Merlin pushing each other all the way and keeping our distance on the DK46 Nine Dragons and the Farr 45 Pretty Woman.'
'We actually caught Swish late yesterday and were on their toes today as we got to Nambucca. We made a tactical decision to go inside to look for some breeze as they went out but as we gybed back we just lost our pressure and couldn’t make it up from there. We’re looking forward to the races up here to round out the regatta.'
For the baby of the crew, 16 year old Seldon Coventry speaking on her first ocean race commented,' it was so much fun, a good experience and I learnt a lot. Bruce and Tina are just legends and the other guys were fantastic. I would definitely do it again if I get the opportunity.'
The rest of the fleet are now starting to make their way towards Coffs Harbour with another 17 boats expected in before midnight.
Follow all the action on the yacht tracker at Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race 2012 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.
Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race 2012