A spectacular start is forecast for the first ocean race of the New Year, the 33rd Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race hosted by The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, starting tomorrow.
When the quality fleet of 39 line up for the start at 1pm tomorrow, BOM forecast a 20 knot Northerly ahead of southerly change of 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon and evening with a swell of South to southeasterly around 1 metre.
As the fleet make their way up the coast into Friday morning through the Hunter and Port Macquarie towards Coffs Harbour they face northeast to southeasterly 10 to 15 knots during the morning then tending north to northeasterly 20 to 30 knots during the afternoon.
The race will see the debut of multihulls to the event and will have their own start 15 minutes after the monohulls leave the line. The four in contention will be led by the impressive record-breaking Orma 60 trimaran Team Australia, skippered by Sean Langman and if no mishaps will be in Coffs Harbour well ahead of the entire fleet to create a brand new multihull race record and historic moment.
For the monohulls, a new line honours winner will be crowned in 2014 with the bookies favourite being Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin, who will be keen to get their hands on the coveted line honours bell trophy after a tight three and a half minutes second over the line in 2013 behind Bill Wild’s RP55 Wedgetail.
The other TP52 and a late entry after suffering mainsail damage at the start of the Hobart race, Andrew Dunphy and Martin Hoogland’s Dodo will be hot on their heels with any number of boats willing and able to fill the final podium across the line.
The largest in the fleet is Graham Buckeridge’s 18.5 metre Custom Frers-designed Margaret Rintoul V whilst the smallest in the fleet are two multihulls at 9.5m being Darren Drew’s Custom Grainger Cat Indian Chief and Doug Cuming’s Egan Voodoo Spirit.
Tom Spithill, co helmsman and tactician on board Bruce Hogan and Tina Clifton’s Marten 49 Perpetual Mocean said, 'The competition looks like it’s going to be pretty tight getting on the podium. Obviously, the two TP52s Ragamuffin and Dodo will be having a good battle for line honours, however the last spot on the podium looks to be pretty hard to pick with a handful of boats 45 foot plus in contention and it should be extremely close in the handicap arena.'
Spithill who will also act as crew boss with seven RPAYC youth development graduates doing their second major ocean race commented, 'With an average age on board of 26, we certainly have the horsepower on board to keep the boat charging. We’re pumped and ready to go.'
In terms of IRC handicap, there's a bunch of boats in contention in what is shaping up to be a very competitive race within a class fleet.
These include the two DK46s Rob Reynolds Exile who won it in 2012 and Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons, 2013 winner triple crown winner Ragamuffin to be skippered by his Syd’s grandson Brenton Fischer, Dodo, the Richard Hudson skippered Farr 45 Pretty Woman, Stephen Proud’s Kernan 44 Swish, Warwick Sherman’s Ker 43 OCL 2, Robert Alder’s Cookson 12 OCL 1 and the Corby 43 Phil Arnall’s Anger Management from Newcastle.
Within PHS, with all monohulls eligible to compete, keep an eye on Les Goodridge’s X50 Wax Lyrical, Ragamuffin, Swish, Dodo and Perpetual Mocean who performed well to finish fourth in the 2013 race.
RPAYC Commodore Rob Curtis said, 'The forecast is looking good for the race north. There has been a lot of hard work into setting up the regatta at both ends and we know it will be another great event for everybody.'
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.
The race dubbed the 'warm water classic' is the first race of the Club Marine Pittwater & 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, ORCi, shorthanded and multihull 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.
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.
There is also a mobile APP option to download from the website.
Bob Oatley’s 10 year old race record with the former 60ft Wild Oats IX stands at 18 hours 29 minutes 14 seconds with a boat needing to average 14 knots and be in Coffs Harbour before 7:29am to break it.
Follow all the action on the event website at www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au
Club Marine, Australia’s largest provider of pleasure craft insurance, is proud to be the naming rights sponsor of the 2013 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta.
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by Damian Devine
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7:48 AM Wed 1 Jan 2014GMT
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2014 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatt
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