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Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta close of entries under a month away

by Damian Devine on 11 Nov 2011
Bruce Absolon’s Volvo 60, ‘Spirit of the Maid’ will make the trek down from Hamilton Island to enter the regatta and Australian PHS Championships - Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2012 Damian Devine
With just under a month to close, entries are on the move for the Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2012 hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, in association with Coffs Harbour Yacht Club. Organisers are expecting a fleet of around 60 to assemble for the start of the regatta on 2 January with the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.

Plenty of regulars will be amongst the competition including two 25 race veterans, skippers Richard Hudson and Brian Ellis who will be respectively in charge of the IC 45 ‘Pretty Woman’ and the Farr 40 ‘Witchcraft’ owned by Bruce Staples. RPAYC Commodore Rob Curtis and his Murray 42, ‘Secret Men’s Business’ has also entered along with Bruce Absolon’s Volvo 60, ‘Spirit of the Maid’ who will make the trek down from Hamilton Island. Both will be vying to win the inaugural PHS Championship.

In his 25 attempts to date, Richard Hudson, also the Coffs Organising Committee Chairman, has climbed the podium ten times with his record showing two firsts on handicap (Quartermaster, 1982 and Pemberton III, 1990), four seconds and four thirds. His most recent podium finish with syndicate owners Russell Murphy and Michael Lockley was in 2009 when they captured a trifecta of seconds; line honours, IRC handicap and overall regatta.


'I am looking forward to the regatta as I do every year and getting to Coffs for some great racing. There’s been plenty of work behind the scenes in preparation for the regatta at both ends and I am encouraged by the interest shown by competitor’s intention to race. I am sure we will see a strong fleet.'

With the Australian Performance Handicap (PHS) Championships also an integral part of the 2012 regatta, Bruce Absolon’s Volvo 60 ‘Spirit of the Maid’ is keen to take the inaugural title. Absolon, a regular to the event over the past five years and travels the farthest to get to the start line said from his residence in the Whitsundays, commented 'We love competing in the Pittwater & Coffs regatta each year and sharing the camaraderie with other crews that we don’t see in other regattas throughout the year. We are also very excited about competing for the Australian PHS Championships which is a great initiative for the regatta.'

'It also fits in with my racing philosophy of racing to destinations with palm trees as there’s not too many when you turn right out of Sydney. We are always made to feel so welcome at the Alfred’s and every courtesy and assistance is offered to us and that is appreciated, being an entry who probably comes the farthest distance to compete.'

'The race to Coffs is fantastic as to is the racing in Coffs and the hospitality there is superb, we just hope this year not to have the same head car issues as we did at the start of this year’s race and we’ll be doing our best to avoid taking the rhumb line to Fiji like we did last time. Strong head winds and messy seas would be our forte, bring it on,' added Absolon.

Another to enter is the recently purchased DK46 which carries the name of Bob Cox's successful NS 369 'Nine Dragons' representing MHYC. The DK46 is a significant step up for the owner and crew; and the Coffs Harbour race will be its first major test. They were reasonably comfortable on the NS 369 offshore, and were delighted with her podium finishes in the 2010 / 2011 Coffs races. They hope they can manage the power of the DK46 and will do their best to have an enjoyable and safe race in 2012. The other DK46 entered, also from MHYC, is Rob Reynolds ‘Exile’.

The Pittwater & Coffs regatta, due to its location, is promoted as a family friendly event and in 2012 there is plenty planned off water with three nights of festivities under the marquee at the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club including the Mayoral reception and live music each night. Wild Oats will also set up a wine bar for the occasion.

The formula for the regatta is five races, the Pittwater to Coffs race being the first race followed by four races in Coffs Harbour over two consecutive days on 5-6 January. These races consist of a 8nm sprint windward-leeward race followed by a 20nm offshore race around the majestic Solitary Islands.

There will be IRC, PHS, ORCi, Cruising and Shorthanded divisions as well as incorporating the inaugural Australian Performance Handicapping (PHS) Championships to the regatta. The five race Championship will see PHS boats challenging for a trophy to become the National champion.

The race attracts racing enthusiasts from a broad base of yacht clubs across Australia and a mix of experienced offshore sailors, youth and newcomers to the sport of ocean racing due to its desirable distance, destination and spirit of the race. A flurry of entries is expected in the coming weeks.


Applications for entry close Friday 2 December 2011 at 1700hours, so owners need to get in quickly by entering online here

The Notice of Race for both the Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2012 and the Australian Performance Handicap (PHS) Championships are available from the event website.

For regatta enquiries call the RPAYC sailing office on 02 9998 3771.

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