Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik 2018 Kollition 728x90

Pantaenius Newport-Coffs Coast Yacht Race: It's About Time for another showdown

by Mark Rothfield 11 Oct 2018 00:45 PDT 27 December 2018
About Time - Pantaenius Newport-Coffs Coast Yacht Race © Mark Rothfield

At 77, Lake Macquarie skipper Doug Coulter has no intention of slowing down over the Christmas-New Year break – if anything his yachts are getting faster with advancing years, and he's hoping to again vie for line-honours in the Pantaenius Newport-Coffs Coast yacht race starting December 27.

Coulter's Belmont-based Roger 46 Shakti had a classic match-racing duel with the Cookson 50 About Time last year, gaining a handy lead at the mid-point of the race until being edged in the latter stages. Shakti nevertheless salved its wounds with PHS honours.

"It was on the nose all the way, so lots of tacks and tactics," Coulter recalls. "It was a bit tough on the body, but you never know if it's the race or the liver that you gave a hiding. It's not as easy as it used to be."

Coulter sailed his first Coffs race in 1984 aboard the Farr two-tonner Fiona, a handsome ex-IOR racer that's now living in retirement in the Whitsundays. He also competed in his Farr 40 Short Circuit and the Sayer 40 Frantic in 1998.

"I used to go to Hobart regularly before getting a bit long in the tooth, and for a while I didn't own a boat that was suitable for mid-length coastal racing. The bug then bit me again, so I bought Shakti in the UK... and the rest is history.

"In last year's race we hit the lead around Seal Rocks because About Time took a dig out to sea that didn't pay off. They finally got us around Nambucca Heads and beat us across the line by about 12 minutes."

A potential barrier this year is the shallowness of Swansea Channel, an ongoing curse for deep-draft racing yachts on the Lake, however Coulter will be moving hell and high water to make the start. His crew enjoys the challenge of top-level ocean race while Coulter likes the length of the race, at 230 nautical miles.

"For a fast boat like hours it takes around 25 to 30 hours, which really suits those of us who aren't keen on the long ocean slog. You work hard but I enjoy the challenge and I've got a great crew who enjoy it as well."

As for his chances, Coulter says southerly conditions would give the Rogers 46 its best shot: "Upwind it's just another 46-footer but downwind, when it gets planing, it really sails beyond its handicap."

About Time owner Julian Farren-Price also has unfinished business, despite clawing back the lead in the 2017 Pantaenius Newport-Coffs Coast to finish in 1 day 16 hours.

"It's a very tactical race and we completely blew it on the first night last year, which is one of the reasons I want to come back this year," Farren-Price says. "Last year we slipped 10 or 11 miles behind Shakti, and all we could do then was aim for line honours rather than a handicap win.

"I didn't even think that was possible, but my crew is very determined and chipped away – a good effort, though we should never have been that far behind."

Farren-Price has done 10 or more Coffs races in previous incarnations of About Time, enjoying considerable success.

"It's a very famous race on the east coast, and the timing and length suits me really well," he says.

"Getting the currents and wind right is tricky – we went offshore last year because we had a forecast predicting breeze but ended up slipping back. I've pretty much decided now to hug the shore now and tack when the depth sounder tells us to."

A further tactical decision for skippers is whether to power through with crew on the rail the whole way or run regular watches on board. Farren-Price prefers the latter, allowing his team to be well rested and fully functioning in the crucial finishing stages.

Another bonus was the quick and easy delivery back to Pittwater, which gave the well-known timepiece and jewellery retailer the chance to spend New Year's Eve with his family and relax at home before returning to work.

This year, Farren-Price intends staying on to have a hit at the renowned Bonville Golf Club, which is hosting the Coffs Race Golf Challenge on January 31.

"Obviously Coffs Harbour is a great destination to go to as well," he adds. "The locals are always friendly, and I hear there might be a golf game this year which suits me right down to the ground – my two sports are sailing and golf.

"I've never played at Bonville, but I've heard great things about it."

The Pantaenius Newport-Coffs Coast race is run by Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay in association with the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club under Safety Category 3 Plus. Entry divisions include PHS, ORCi and IRC. Multihulls and short-handed crews are also welcome to compete.

Co-sponsors include B&G, Robert Oatley Wines, Musto, Pacific Property Management and Performance Boating.

More details at www.royalmotor.com.au/coffs-race. Entries via www.royalmotor.com.au/coffs-race/enter-now.

Related Articles

Triumphant return for Swan fleet
At New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta The 165th edition of North America's oldest sailing competition, the New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta, was also the 15th edition of the Swan American Regatta, which was previously last run in 2007. Posted today at 11:45 am
Anticipation on Crew Allocation Day
We meet the new Clipper Race sailors to discover their stories... Clipper Race Crew Allocation Day, held at the Portsmouth Guildhall, is a huge moment in the build-up to the race itself. This is the day when crew find out who their Skipper will be and meet their teammates for the first time. Posted today at 11:00 am
U.S. SailGP Team showcases "Lady Liberty"
On the Hudson ahead of first-ever New York City race With four days until SailGP's New York racing debut, the United States SailGP Team made a splash on the Hudson when its F50 racing catamaran flew across the city's waters for the very first time. Posted today at 8:32 am
Kiel Week: OK European Championship
2.4mR: Together for inclusion - cooperation with World Sailing - two in one sweep? For the start of the Aalregatta, the Welcome Race and the Kiel Cup, there will be also some former ocean racers, 15 catamarans and trimarans as well as the ClubSwan 50 yachts, that cannot be overlooked, among the 150 yachts on the inner fjord in Kiel. Posted today at 5:30 am
IWT Pistol River Wave Bash day 2
Winds come to the party Pistol River is one of those places where you expect the wind to be strong. Today was no exception. It was clear at the 10am Skipper's that it was going to be a good day. Posted today at 5:27 am
Bacardi Cup Program supports 2019 winners
92nd Bacardi Cup Champions showcase Bacardi at Porto Cervo, Italy It's 9th March 2019 in Miami, USA; in the bay there's a massive fleet of Stars racing at the Bacardi Cup, celebrating the event's 92nd edition, but only two teams can win it. Posted today at 2:14 am
2019 Marion Bermuda Race day 4
MachBuster pushes Kiwi Spirit for Line Honors Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) BERMUDA, June 17, 2019: At 0730 ADT Monday morning Kiwi Spirit, the Line Honors leader of the Marion Bermuda fleet, was 125 nautical miles out from the finish. That's a little more than 143 statute (land) miles. Posted today at 1:29 am
Puerto Sherry 52 Super Series Royal Cup practice
Dusting off the memory banks "After Mahón we reset to zero and start here with a clean sheet," smiled Phoenix's Italian strategist Michele Ivaldi just before the South-African-flagged team went out & won today's Official Practice Race for the Puerto Sherry 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup. Posted on 17 Jun
Star Worlds at Porto Cervo day 1
Two Italian teams in the lead The Star Class World Championship is off to a good start with today's race run as scheduled despite light breeze. Posted on 17 Jun
J/Teams dominate in Annapolis to Newport Race
Picture-perfect conditions greeted the Friday fleet Picture-perfect conditions greeted the Friday fleet of starters for the 2019 Annapolis-to-Newport Race, which got under way at 11:00am on the Chesapeake Bay. Posted on 17 Jun
Marine Resources 2019 - FooterMelges 14 2019 FooterNaiad 660x82px_Tourist