Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Rob Reynold’s DK46 Exile has won the IRC division in the 2014 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta, six points ahead of the Hudson/Lockley/Murphy Pretty Woman as the regatta drew to a close today in Coffs Harbour, hosted by The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
With a scorecard of 2,1,7,2 in the four race regatta after the fifth race was abandoned, Reynold’s did enough to end his campaign on 12 points, knowing that he had to finish within five places of Pretty Woman to lift the coveted IRC regatta trophy. The Sydney 38 Old School skippered by Mark Griffith finished a further six points back to round out the podium.
Reynolds was also crowned the Australian PHS champion with a one point win over Andrew Byrne’s Sydney 38 The Goat after being locked on equal points going into the final day. The RPAYC’s Pretty Woman were third, a further six points back.
The ORCi title went to another RPAYC boat, Mark Griffith’s Sydney 38 Old School, the 2012 IRC regatta winner. They also won by one point from Pretty Woman after being locked together overnight. Old School posted a bullet today with Pretty Woman recording a second to separate the tie. Mark Tinworth and Mark Waterhouse with their Beneteau 44.7 Le Billet were third, six points back.
Both races scheduled today got underway in a light ESE breeze that struggled to get to six knots with the second race shortened and then abandoned, as the wind died and the fleet attempted to inch their way to a finish.
The race committee, under the guidance of race officer Steve Merrington got the fleet away on schedule at 1100hrs today on a hot, humid day in Coffs Harbour. The first race for the fleet of 13 boats competing was a four nautical mile windward leeward on the Korffs east course set at 190 and 1.5 nautical miles offshore. As the fleet pushed their way down the line to the start it appeared there were a number going to be over. It was not a very clean start and a number of individual recalls were called including Rumba and Nine Dragons.
The beat to windward was a grind with the breeze getting soft. The course suited the Marten 49 Perpetual Mocean skippered by Bruce Hogan and his crew of RPAYC Youth Development graduates who led the fleet around the course in a smartly sailed race to take line honours in a time of 47 minutes 33 seconds from Exile and Pretty Woman.
On corrected time, IRC handicap positions were a carbon copy of line honours with Perpetual Mocean winning in a time of 59mins 9secs 45 seconds ahead of Exile with Pretty Woman third. Perpetual Mocean also took PHS honours in a time 56 mins 55 secs from Exile and Ian Box’s Xp44Toy Box 2. In ORCi it was Old School with it’s second win in the regatta 13 seconds ahead of Pretty Woman with Toy Box 2 third.
The final race had to wait more than half an hour as the AP flag went up when the breeze went softer and moved more right to the east. The committee vessel, Matthew Flinders upped anchor and moved inshore to set a course at 120. Race five got underway at 1pm with the course being the 13.5 nautical mile Korffs east, Split, harbour finish.
The fleet got away to a clean start with Perpetual Mocean, Hussy and Nine Dragons opting for the pin with Old School, the best at the boat end. The boats struggled their way to the top mark before turning for a downwind to Split with the breeze fading. The race officer decided to shorten the course on that leg as fair an equitable fleet made it to the Island.
Perpetual Mocean were declared the line honours winner, however, there were a number of protests lodged over the shortened course finish line. In a protracted protest room at the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club this evening, it was decided by the jury that the race committee could not achieve a fair and equitable result for the competitors with the wind fading, so they decided to abandon the final race, a fair decision in the end welcomed by the competitors.
An elated Rob Reynolds, skipper of Exile said on winning the IRC regatta title, 'This is an absolutely fantastic feeling and I am thrilled to pick up the regatta win in IRC and the Australian PHS championship. I want to pay credit to my wonderful crew, it’s a great testament to them that we have achieved this result as a team and I am lucky to have them with me. They are a great bunch of friends and they have worked extremely hard over the past week to pull this result together. It obviously couldn’t have happened without them.'
'I have been coming to Coffs for a few years now and this has been another fantastic regatta and all credit to the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Coffs Harbour Yacht Club for organising the event. It’s been a great few days, we’ve had lots of fun and I look forward to coming back next year to defend the title,' added Reynolds.
ORCi winner Mark Griffith said on his regatta win, 'An excellent result, we’re very pleased, the guys worked very hard. We have an excellent crew and we’ve had a great time up here. This is a lovely regatta and to be honest, the Coffs is one of the best regattas on the Australian circuit.
We had a number of guys new to the boat and they gelled quickly and we had a great time together. It was a very hard, tough race coming up here and we worked really hard to keep the boat moving to get through the light tricky conditions but a very strong crew who really tried their hearts out. I applaud them,' said Griffith.
So with the 2014 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta now over, everyone’s looking forward to the 34th running of the regatta in 2015.
The prized Navigator’s trophy was awarded to Richard Arnall’s Corby 43 Anger Management for his perfect prediction for the final 22 nautical miles from Nambucca Heads to the finish, recorded with Marine Rescue Coffs Harbour.
Ian Audsley, Vice Commodore of host club The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club summed up the 2014 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta saying, 'The regatta turned into its true name, the warm water regatta. 'The results were very, very close, reflecting some great racing. Thanks to our sponsor Club Marine who are so supportive of what we’re doing.'
My thanks to the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, the marina, John Bacon for the use of his marvellous vessel the Matthew Flinders as the support vessel and start boat up here, the race committee and the army of volunteers involved and to everyone who has made this a great event. I look forward to seeing you in 2015.'
by Damian Devine
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4:36 PM Mon 6 Jan 2014GMT
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