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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

PIC Coastal Classic: Melges 40 Clockwork wins handicap and unofficial category record

by Zoe Hawkins/PIC Coastal Classic 20 Oct 2023 18:49 PDT 21 October 2023
Clockwork - Melges 40 - Start - 2023 PIC Coastal Classic - October 20, 2023 © Suellen Hurling

In the 41 years of PIC Coastal Classic history there are always many winners – but four winners stand out above them all: overall line and handicap winners in each of the monohull and keelboat fleets.

Line honours – the first in the entire fleet to the finish line, is one of them. In this year, the 41st race, it was the TP52 Wired, owned by Rob Bassett and representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Wired crossed the finish line at 1947hrs.

In the big keelboat fleet of more than 123 boats of all shapes and sizes, a win on PHRF handicap is an equivalently prestigious and sought after honour.

In 2023, this honour went to Clockwork, the Melges 40 owned and skippered by Steve Mair, and sailed with a non-professional crew.

Steve credits simplicity in setup with the success: “We went as fast as we could, sailed as few miles as possible and tried to keep as dry as we could.”

“We have a consistent crew, everyone knows their job, and things go like clockwork.”

Clockwork’s astounding finish time of 9 hours and 39 minutes has bettered the race records set by Crusader 35 in 2012 for boats of its size – but because the start line was shifted to Narrow Neck Beach this year, it will be recognised unofficially. Rival Melges 40 Sassinate also tipped the 2012 record.

Remarkably, the newly relaunched Shaw 35 Rehab, now owned by Mike Sanderson, placed second, and the 30-year old Ross 930 Hotdogger sailed by Sinisa Grujicic was third in the PHRF handicap system, taking nearly 30 minutes off the record set for its class in 2014.

Despite a later start which saw them disadvantaged by lighter conditions off Rangitoto Light, multihulls performed incredibly well in this race with three boats in the top ten despite making up less than 10% of the fleet. Apache, owned by Erle Williams of the NZMYC, was the first to finish at 1955hrs. The red trimaran Lucifer performed remarkably well, finishing at 2106hrs hrs and winning on corrected time, and is the fourth winner of note in this year’s race.

The PIC Coastal Classic publishes line and handicap results for all 16 divisions and provisional results are now available for viewing at www.coastalclassic.co.nz

Organised by the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club, it is a race designed for speed: except for at the beginning and the end of the race, there are few opportunities to use tactics to overtake, and success can often depend on getting a good tactical start.

As well as welcoming back long term supporter PIC Insurance Brokers, the Coastal Classic is supported by some of New Zealand’s pre-eminent marine brands: B&G, PredictWind.com, 36° Brokers. Line 7 and Doyle Sails.

The NZMYC acknowledges the serious incident and loss of life during this weekend’s race. Our thoughts and hearts are with the family, friends and crew. We cannot tell you any more at the moment, only that words cannot express our sorrow. We are working to support those involved, and with Police, Coastguard and Yachting NZ to assist with their enquiries.

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