Milestone year for Pittwater to Coffs race

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

THIS year's running of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht race is proof that the event has come of age.

One of the most popular ocean racing events on the Australian Calendar, the race is this year entering it's 25th year and Troy White, the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club's Rear Commodore of Sailing believes that the longevity of the race is a credit the club.

"It's a milestone the fact we've had 25 years of racing," he said.

"The race is great for the club but it's also great for the community as it's become a bit of a tradition.

"I hate to rehash it but the race does bring in business to a lot of business houses in the town."

White believes that the warmth of the people of Coffs Harbour as well as the weather is a big reason behind the popularity of the race.

"The people from Sydney enjoy coming up here as the people are pretty accomodating and it's a friendly place to visit," he explained.

"I think they're also attrracted to the warm water here compared to the freezing cold water of Hobart."

A lack of space at the marina is the only concern for White as each year the yacht club receives more an more enquiries about entering into the race.

"We've got the potential to be a lot better but we can't help that," he said.

"Potentially we could probably have about 130 entries into the race but because of the lack room to accomodate all of the boats we've had to turn back half the fleet."

Local entrants

This year the local community can look forward to seeing three locally owned and crewed yachts entered in the race.

For the second year in a row Stephen Brown and co-owner Paul D'Olier will be entering their yacht 'B-52'.

Darren Digney, club Commodore Craig Chisholm and Vice Commodore Ray Benson will be racing their Westlawn Finance vessel 'Mistress Again' while Peter and Kathy Orr will be hoping for a strong southerly in The Lakes 'Slippery When Wet' to help them get a victory on handicap.

There is still strong speculation that the fight for line honours could become a one horse race if owner/skipper Bob Oatley enters his new maxi 'Wild Oats'.

It is believed Oatley is intending to win the Sydney to Hobart race then turn around and sail back to Sydney for the start of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race which commences on January 2.



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