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Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race 2013 - Dazzling start for new calendar

by Damian Devine on 1 Jan 2013
Ragamuffin to compete in 32nd Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race Damian Devine
The Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race is all set to kick off its 32nd edition in the first ocean racing event of 2013.

A high quality fleet of 34 yachts will assemble on the start line at 1pm tomorrow for the first ocean race of the New Year, the 32nd Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race hosted by The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

The competitors are making final preparations on the RPAYC marina today ahead of tonight’s regatta briefing and welcome cocktail party. The mandatory weather briefing will be held at 9am tomorrow morning before the 1pm start.

The forecast is looking good for a quick run north with a 15-20 Knot South Easter predicted for the start. According to the predictwind.com forecast, the southerly is expected to stay with the fleet all the way to Coffs.

Bob Oatley’s 10 year old race record of 18 hours 29 minutes 14 seconds with the former 60ft Wild Oats IX is looking less a threat than a couple of days back but still a chance if the conditions hold throughout the night. A boat would need to average 14 knots and be in Coffs Harbour before 7:29am to break it.

Line honours favourite will be Queenslander Bill Wild’s RP55 Wedgetail (sail number AUS 1188) but in hot pursuit will be Syd Fischer’s TP52 ( sail number AUS 70) Ragamuffin who will be out to spoil Wild’s party, after finishing second in the Hobart race. Syd will swap his 100 footer to the TP52 for the race and will appreciate the off the breeze conditions.

Whilst the fleet is relatively small the competition is fierce and it looks like it’s going to be pretty tight to get on the podium. There is a good race ahead for the boats in the 45-52ft mark in contention.

The boats in contention include the Kaiko 52 Merlin skippered by David Forbes, the Marten 49 Perpetual Mocean, the two DK46s Exile and Nine Dragons and the Farr 45 Pretty Woman skippered by Richard Hudson.

In terms of IRC handicap, there's a number of boats in contention including current Class 2 Audi IRC Australian Champion Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45 Victoire, 2012 IRC winner Rob Reynolds DK46 Exile, 2012 runner up Bob Cox’s DK46 Nine Dragons, Ragamuffin, the Farr 45 Pretty Woman and the Kernan 44 Steven Proud’s Swish.

Another in contention with plenty of experience on board will be Bruce Staples Farr 40 Witchcraft. Staples, the 2010 IRC handicap race winner and 2005 IRC regatta winner with his previous boat, Dark and Stormy Witch is ready to make a race of it in what is rumoured to be his last. Two race veterans will join the wily and experienced crew in navigator Brian Ellis and helmsman Peter Antill who have completed over 50 Coffs races between them. 'The forecast looks good for us but you never know until the start what it’s going to be like, we’ll take it as it comes,' said Ellis as he prepared for the race.



In terms of PHS, keep an eye on Garry Holder’s ID35 The Real Thing who relishes the downwind conditions, the RPAYC Commodore Rob Curtis’ and Ross Trembath’s Murray 42 Secret Men’s Business, third last year and Rob Hoile’s Beneteau 47.7 Kaliber who also performed well in the 2012 race.

The Category Two 226nm Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race gives competitors the opportunity to enjoy a tactical challenge between the current and the beaches, as they make their way north along the scenic route to the finish in Coffs Harbour. The tactical decision will be whether to head offshore in the hope of stronger breeze but having to contend with the south flowing current or to hug the coast.

The race dubbed the 'warm water classic' is the first race of the Club Marine Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta consisting of five races with another four races being staged in Coffs Harbour over two days on 5-6 January. The five races shall count for the overall regatta score with no discards and double points awarded for race one.

There will be IRC, PHS, and ORCi divisions. The regatta will also incorporate the second Australian Performance Handicap (PHS) Championships which will see boats competing for a trophy to become the National PHS champion. In IRC, there will be 27 racing whilst 32 boats will contest the Australian PHS championship. All boats entered have the opportunity to compete in both.

The race will once again feature the Yellow Brick yacht tracking system with 15 minute updates. The tracking system will provide a real-time, graphical representation of the yachts during the race while up to date commentary is to be provided via Twitter and Facebook and on the event website.

The Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race starts at 1pm tomorrow Wednesday 2 January 2013 under Barrenjoey Headland on Sydney’s northern beaches.



Follow all the action on the event website at Pittwater to Coffs Harbour 2012

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