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Swell time for superboats

WAITING GAME: All the high-octane action of the Australian Offshore Superboats Series should be seen in the harbour this weekend, provided the big swell doesn’t make conditions too dangerous today.
WAITING GAME: All the high-octane action of the Australian Offshore Superboats Series should be seen in the harbour this weekend, provided the big swell doesn’t make conditions too dangerous today.

OFFSHORE superboat competitors regard Coffs Harbour as one of the country's best races to get airborne, and with a monster swell rising today, the race is sure to see plenty of air time.

Waves of up to 4.5m are forecast to hit the harbour today between 1pm and 2pm as the offshore superboats compete for pole positioning.

Two races will be held tomorrow at 11am and 1pm. 

Competitor Conn Saloumidis said a call would be made at the harbour this morning and if the swell is deemed too big to race, the tryouts would be cancelled.

Racing however looks assured tomorrow with the waves forecast to fall to 2m.

"Coffs Harbour is potentially Australia's best harbour for offshore boat racing, given the spectators have a clear view of the course and can take in all the racing - nowhere else has this advantage," Mr Saloumidis said.

"The swell coming through the heads makes for some incredible air time, and with the swell up the way it is now, wow, I can only imagine how good the racing is going to be."

After debuting on the Australian Offshore Superboat circuit last year, Coffs Harbour, this week found itself in danger of losing hosting rights to next year's event.

An attractive sponsorship offer put forward by the council in Mackay and a lack of funding locally has had organisers weighing up a shift from Coffs Harbour in 2015.

Offshore Superboat Championship president Graham Fraser said the event would not have returned this year, without the support of local business, Roads and Maritime Services, the Coffs Harbour Marina, the Coffs Harbour Fisherman's Cooperative and the Coffs Harbour City Council.

"The town has so much to offer, presenting the perfect arena for fans and spectators alike, with a looping course that stretches from the harbour past the eastern breakwall and seaward of Pig Island," Mr Fraser said.

Race organisers met with State Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser this week, who gave an assurance he would investigate funding avenues. 

"To me this is a great event for Coffs Harbour as seen by the crowds around the harbour last year," Mr Fraser said.

"Coffs Harbour always talks about its reputation for sports tourism and event tourism and I think with this event, if it does make an estimated injection of $500,000 into the local economy, we have an obligation to try and retain it. 

"The city spends a lot of money on football clubs and by comparison the crowds seen at this free event were far superior. 

"The harbour is a natural amphitheatre and I will be talking to Coffs Harbour City Council and Destination NSW to see what funding can be obtained." 

 

A gold coin collection will be staged in aid of the Ronald McDonald House in the superboat pit area behind the Fishermen's Co-op, which last year raised $1200 for the children's charity.

Spectators watching all the action can also tune in for race commentary on FM transmitter channel 88.3FM.

Topics:  australian offshore superboat championship, coffs harbour, destination nsw



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