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2019 Coffs Harbour Catamaran Classic at Coffs Harbour Yacht Club

by Ian Humphries 19 Sep 21:58 PDT 14-15 September 2019

After a two decade absence of Off The Beach regattas, Coffs Harbour Yacht Club successfully hosted the Coffs Harbour Catamaran Classic over the weekend of 14th and 15th of September with almost 50 entries over three divisions, including the Taipan 4.9 NSW State Titles and a leg of the Formula 18's Travellers' Series. The event attracted competitors from interstate and a couple of locals who sailed at the last similar regatta in the late 1990's.

CHYC was ably assisted by a group of keen volunteers, along with Australian Sailing Club Services Officer, Carl Webster, and Class Associations. A highlight was the cooperation from the Coffs Harbour Triathlon Club who loaned anchors and tackle for the windward mark and gate makes donated by Forward WIP. Courses were set off Park Beach in the open ocean, with the Solitary Isles as a backdrop.

Day one started with a light sou'wester and the Race Committee opted for a short course with the top mark as close to the CHYC upper balcony as possible! The breeze clocked east as predicted and the course was shifted and extended for another two good races before a sou'easter built rapidly creating trying conditions for all fleets. There were multiple capsizes and the CHYC Emergency Plan was activated with Marine Rescue and Water Police assisting as needed.

Day two saw the breeze around to a nor'easter and another 3 races were held in much more pleasant sailing conditions. CHYC did a great job on volunteer boats, setting a right length start line with top mark directly to windward 1200m or 2/3 of a nautical mile and a perfectly square gate. The sailors really appreciated the well set course and the breakwater had a constant crowd watching the racing in perfect Spring weather.

Coffs Harbour is a great venue for a regatta. The parkland adjoining the Club is well maintained with security lighting for boats and parked trailers. It's easy access to the beach for launching and the downstairs bar with BBQ is ideal for before and after racing events. There's plenty to see and do at Coffs, ranging from weekly Sunday morning markets near the Yacht Club to other annual events - Victorian Taipan sailor Sam Breaden, who sailed very well to finish second, was making a week of it with the family as his partner was competing in a Cycling event the following weekend.

The Taipan 4.9 class was won by Cameron Barwick on 'The One'; Formula 18's went to Mal Gray on Hobie Wildcat 'The Good Life'; Vipers to Beau White sailing 'Cristopia Energy Storage' and the Mixed Cat Division was won by Gary Powell on an Arrow, 'Angry Ant' - just pipping a Maricat 4.3, 'Zax' sailed by Grady McNee by 1 point overall!

The highlight of the Presentation was in the Taipans where two brothers have a tradition of whoever finishes highest overall having to present the other with a bottle of Port! The Event had great sponsors and Forward WIP provided classy hoodies that Race Officer Ian Humphries used for two awards - Sportsmanship to Her Broomstick F18 and Seamanship for the cat rigged Hobie 14 who was at the tail of the fleet on Saturday so copped the worst of the big blow but made it home safely by sailing very conservatively.

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