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Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta 2013 - Just a Dash wins IRC

by Damian Devine on 7 Jan 2013
The start of today’’s 20 nautical mile South Solitary Island race - 2013 Club Marine Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta Damian Devine
The Club Marine Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta 2013 drew to a close on Sunday with Philip Dash’s Beneteau First 40 Just a Dash winning the IRC division by a single point ahead of Daryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45 Victoire.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Philip Dash’s Beneteau First 40 Just a Dash has won the IRC division in the 2013 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta one point ahead of Daryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45 Victoire as the regatta drew to a close today in Coffs Harbour.

With a trifecta of thirds and a 10th today in the four race regatta, Dash did enough to end his campaign on 22 points, knowing that he had to finish within four places of Victoire to lift the coveted IRC regatta trophy. Hodgkinson, who sailed well managed to finish sixth today to finish on 23 points, but not enough to overtake Just a Dash. The Mark Tinworth and Mark Waterhouse Beneteau 44.7 Le Billet finished a further point back on 24 points with a fourth place today. Double points were awarded for the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race, the first race of the regatta, in the overall point score.

In PHS, it was a clear four point win to Peter Hewson’s Sydney 41 Storage King Wallop from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club who had to hold off a flying finish from Mitchell Gordon’s Sydney 38 The Goat who finished with two bullets in the final two races of the regatta. The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Bruce Hogan and Tina Clifton’s Marten 49 Perpetual Mocean mentoring seven crew from the RPAYC’s Youth Development squad were third, a further four points back. A great result for the youth team.

The ORCi title went to another RPAYC boat, Le Billet a three time previous winner of this regatta under its former owner. They won on a count back from the overnight leader Just a Dash after finishing second today with Just a Dash finishing seventh. With a better overall result over the four races posting a first and two seconds they did enough to claim the title. Steven Proud’s Kernan 44 Swish was third, also four points back.

Only one of the two races scheduled was completed on the final day of the regatta as the race committee flew the AP flag early today with humidity, clouds and rain dominating the skies over Coffs Harbour preventing any breeze to shuffle in.

The 20 boats competing in the final race had to wait two hours for the skies to clear to allow the breeze to fill in before the AP flag was lowered. Racing got underway shortly after 1pm in a fairly soft 6-8 knot ENE. The course was the 20 nautical mile Solitary Island race.

With the fleet pushing for the line with a minute to go, they majority looked to be early at the start with a general recall on the cards, however it wasn’t to be as they jockeyed for positions and in the end only two were given individual recalls, The Goat and Occasional Coarse Language. The top of the leader board boats Just a Dash started in the middle of the line with Le Billet next to them and Storage King Wallop (PHS), and Victoire more to the committee boat end with each keeping a close eye on another with their regattas on the line.

The boats then set off on a long reach to the island with some opting for the inside lane closer to the beach whilst others like Victoire and Wallop and a bunch of others tacked early for an outside lane looking for some additional pressure.

The boats rounded Solitary Island in a little under two hours with Bruce Hogan’s Marten 49 Perpetual Mocean leading Stephen Proud’s Swish as they set their kites for the journey to the finish line inside Coffs harbour. The two pushed each other all the way on the downwind run home with nothing between them.

In another extremely close finish, Perpetual Mocean covered Swish in true match racing style as they neared the harbour entrance and then gybed a few times inside the harbour to cross the line seven seconds in front of Swish, taking line honours in a time of 2hrs 46mins 59secs. Bruce Staples Farr 40 Witchcraft was third.

On corrected time, Witchcraft sailed a beautiful race in conditions that suited, won in a time of 3hrs 22mins 37secs by one minute nine seconds ahead of Mitchell Gordon’s Sydney 38 The Goat with Storage King Wallop third.

In PHS, it was The Goat representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in a corrected time of 3hrs 16mins 11 secs from two RPAYC boats, Shaw Russett’s Tailwind a minute 30 seconds behind and Garry Holder’s ID 35, with their first podium performance of the regatta.

In ORCi it was Witchcraft four minutes ahead of Le Billet with Swish third.

An elated Philip Dash, skipper of Just a Dash said on winning the IRC regatta title, 'fantastic, absolutely stoked. It’s our first offshore regatta and the first long passage race we’ve done with this boat, so to win it we’re thrilled.'
'We didn’t get a brilliant start today next to Victoire but we got out OK and we tacked and then they tacked on us. It was very soft, only 6-8 knots which didn’t suit us and we were not looking pretty at all and I thought we may have blown the whole thing, but we managed to just hold on which was good.'

'The crew were fantastic, there was half a dozen of the regulars who sail with us every week and we’ve moulded into a good team and we had two local Coffs guys who came on board with plenty of offshore experience and fitted in very well to help us get this win. I look forward to coming back next year, I’ve enjoyed the whole thing, it’s been great,' added Dash.

Going into today's final race, the Novocastrian boat Storage King Wallop led by one point in the PHS division from Just a Dash and had to ensure they finished one place higher than Just a Dash, which they did with Just a Dash posting a 13th today and Wallop a fifth.

Peter Hewson, skipper of Storage King Wallop from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, who last competed in this event in 2004 said dockside, 'this is a good PHS boat that appreciates tight reaching conditions. We have a new set of Quantum sails which has helped our upwind performance and we’ve been happy with our boat speed.

'We’re over the moon on this win, it’s just fantastic, in fact it’s awesome. To win any regatta is not easy, you really have to be consistent. When you get the bridesmaid tag you always reflect on the little things you could have done better so we don’t have to do that this time, which is great. We stuck to our game plan today and had two good IRC boats either side of us in Victoire and Le Billet and we managed to sail well, picking the shifts and ploughing ahead to achieve a good result. We had to keep a close eye on Just a Dash today knowing there was only one point separating us. It’s been a great regatta, we’ve all had a good time and enjoyed ourselves immensely and we hope to be back next year to defend the title.'

So with the 2013 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta now over, everyone’s looking forward to the 33rd running of the regatta.

With a welcomed downwind race in the 2013 Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race that clocked 15 knots, the race offered up a new line honours winner in Bill Wild’s RP55 Wedgetail in a time of 19hrs 53mins 3secs and a triple handicap winner in Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin (IRC, ORCi and PHS). This, coupled with the ensuing four races in Coffs Harbour has ensured the 2013 regatta has been another great regatta.

The prized Navigator’s trophy was presented to the Farr 45 Pretty Woman’s Michael Lockley for the third year in a row, proving he’s no fluke. This year he was out by a mere one minute 20 seconds, for the final 20 nautical miles from Nambucca Heads to the finish, recorded with Marine Rescue at their final radio check.

In closing, Coffs Harbour Commodore Garry Ennis said, 'we’ve been blessed, we’ve had great weather, great sailing, the wind was blowing, the beer was cold, the rum was flowing, the yachties are happy, sun was shining, we’ve had a wonderful, wonderful time. Thanks to the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, thanks for bringing the regatta to Coffs Harbour and we look forward to the 33rd year.'

Rob Curtis, Commodore of host club The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club summed up the 2013 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta saying, 'The regatta turned into its true name, the warm water regatta. I mean the weather coming up to Coffs and the race itself was sensational, we got blown up here all the way and when we arrived the clouds cleared, the sun was shining and we have had two beautiful days of sailing.'

'The results were very, very close, reflecting some great racing and I think opening up all the handicap divisions to all competitors was the smart thing to do and created some great racing. Thanks to sponsor Club Marine and Corey Yeung who is so supportive of what we’re doing particularly when yacht racing and staging regattas like this is becoming more costly, so we appreciate their support and it has helped make it a top class regatta.'

'My personal thanks to the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, the marina, John Bacon for the use of his marvellous vessel the Matthew Flinders as the radio relay 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 2014.'

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