Some would say there’s no better way to start the New Year than turn left at Barrenjoey and compete in the race dubbed 'the warm water classic'. The first race of the 2013 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta, the 226nm Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race will start on 2 January, hosted by The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
With the release of the NoR and online entry system a couple of weeks ago, three entries have now been received with plenty more expected in the coming weeks.
The 32nd Pittwater to Coffs race is part of the RPAYC’s six race ‘Blue Water Series’, with an additional Category Two race added to the calendar this year on Friday 7 December, as a practice race for crews to Cabbage Tree Island and return, starting at 1700hours.
‘The Real Thing’ owned and skippered by RPAYC’s Garry Holder was the first to enter for the 2013 regatta. The boat, an ID35 is a Nelson Marek Design and has been in Australia for six years. Holder has competed in five Pittwater to Coffs Harbour races with his best result a win in the PHS and ORCi overall divisions in the 2011 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta.
'I’m looking forward to racing to Coffs and then racing in Coffs in 2013.The crew and I really enjoy this race and the overall regatta concept. We finished third overall in the regatta this year so am hoping to replicate what we did a couple of years ago and win the PHS division of the regatta and the Australian PHS Championships. I am just praying for a downwind slide this time around,' said Holder.
Holder’s crew, mostly RPAYC members, have been sailing together for many years and includes Allen Stormon, Rear Commodore Yacht Racing, experienced navigator Frank Walker, Ron Palmer, bowman Tim Byford, Bob Stoddard, Rob Speedy and Holder’s wife Debbie, ably supporting onshore.
Holder also has a novel way for the delivery back to Sydney, electing to take 35 footer out of the water by crane after racing and straight onto a trailer to drive down the Pacific Highway.
‘Pretty Woman’, a Farr 45 owned by Richard Hudson, Michael Lockley and Russell Murphy, all RPAYC stalwarts has also entered. One of the true veterans of the Coffs race, this will be Hudson’s 27th journey to Coffs. The crew are also all from the RPAYC and includes a number of the club’s Youth Development program graduates. Hudson has had 2 overall wins, 3 divisional wins and 3 division places over the years. Hudson is also chairman of the Coffs organising committee.
'The Coffs race is ideal with the race being long enough and very tactical, but not too long. The racing up and around the Solitary Islands in Coffs Harbour is always picturesque and competitive. The regatta is appealing as the crew have the option to bring their families to Coffs Harbour. It’s a great destination at that time of year and the locals are always very hospitable. We are working very closely with Coffs Harbour Yacht Club and looking forward to another great regatta in 2013,' commented Hudson.
Making it an RPAYC trifecta for entries, the Cookson 12 ‘Occasional Coarse Language One’ under her relatively new owners, Robert Alder & Bill Bailey, is keen to race to Coffs for the second time and is also hoping for some downwind running unlike this year’s upwind grind. This will be Robert Alder’s 15th Coffs race and regatta and he is keen to emulate his success in his previous J35 ‘Jayhawk’, which placed most years and won the PHS division in the 2010 regatta.
The 2012 overall IRC handicap winner of the Pittwater to Coffs race, Middle Harbour’s Rob Reynolds and his DK46 ‘Exile’ will back to defend his title as will the Commodore of the RPAYC, Rob Curtis and his syndicated Murray 42, ‘Secret Men’s Business1’ who finished second in the regatta this year in the PHS Division and will be keen to go one better and take out the dual PHS regatta and Australian PHS championships.
Other boats intent to enter are Grant Dawson’s competitive Kerr 11.3 ‘Kerisma’ and Phillip Bennett’s custom 11.5m ‘King Billy’ both from Middle Harbour as well as a strong contingent from the RPAYC including the Farr 40 ‘Witchcraft’ skippered by Brian Ellis, Ray Hudson’s X yacht 44 ’XS Moment’, Shaw Russet’s Beneteau First 40 ‘Tailwind’, John McConaghy’s custom built cruiser/racer ‘Second Time Around’ and 2009 line honour s winner Bruce Hogan’s Marten 49 ‘Perpetual Mocean’, who will chaperone a selection of this year’s Youth Development graduates from the RPAYC, to give them their first taste of ocean racing.
The 10 year race record is held by Bob Oatley’s ‘Wild Oats IX’ set in 2003 in a time of 18 hours 29 minutes and 14 seconds and with the right conditions could easily be eclipsed.
The regatta 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 competition. The races in Coffs, over consecutive days, also provides the opportunity for competitors and their families to have a bit of a holiday at this tourist destination.
Racing commences at 1pm on the 2 January with the Category Two Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race with the regatta continuing off the Coffs coast with a combination of up to four windward leeward and passage races, open to Category Four yachts over two days on 5 and 6 January. The 2013 regatta will also play host to the second annual Australian PHS Championships, won in 2012 by the Coffs Harbour based Sydney 41 ‘B52’ owned and skippered by Paul d’Olier.
The close of entries is Friday 7 December.
The 2013 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta Notice of Race and online entry is available from the event website at www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au.
An online crew register has been set up on the event website for those interested in racing in the regatta but don’t yet have a ride.
For race enquiries and documentation please contact the RPAYC Sailing Office on (02) 9998 3771 or yachting(at)rpayc.com.au.
by Damian Devine
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12:36 AM Fri 24 Aug 2012GMT
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