The bright green hull of Future Shock will give her a high profile in the Pittwater to Coffs ocean race.
The bright green hull of Future Shock will give her a high profile in the Pittwater to Coffs ocean race. Contributed

Future Shock gets new look

SERIES veteran Future Shock will sport a new look in the 30th Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race beginning on Sunday.

Now painted bright green and boasting a one-metre keel extension, the boat will be sailing in the short-handed division and skipper Craig Ellis and ship-mates Scott Gilbert and John Murphy hope to improve on last year’s fourth-across-the-line placing.

“The race will test all three of us to the limit in a variety of ways, with little or no sleep, combined with prolonged strenuous effort and conversation,” Ellis said.

“We are hoping for not too many sail changes, as that is what will take a heavy toll through the race.

“With the new keel we expect the boat to be fast, because we are lighter and stiffer than last year, but the trick will be maintaining that pace over 30-odd hours or so.”

In the past, Future Shock has sailed with as many as 18 crew, so the workload for three will be off the scale.

After starting in the event many times, owner Ron Ellis has handed over the helm but sees short-handed racing as the future of this race and sailing in general.

“More traditional fellows around the yacht club may be scoffing into their refreshments of choice,” he said.

“Some may say it’s too dangerous having these boats sailing around with only two or three people on board, while others might be thinking these guys must be mad to want to do that to themselves.

“But sailing like this greatly reduces associated costs and makes the management side of yacht racing much simpler.

“Added to that, the people on board have a more intense experience.

“Rather than sitting on the rail and doing only one job, they must be able to do everything from steering and navigation to the cooking of food.”

The crew are no strangers to endurance events, with Ellis and Gilbert recently completing the 110km Hawkesbury Classic kayak race, a non-stop event lasting 10-and-a-half hours overnight, while Murphy’s specialty is racing mountain bikes.

“As a gesture to our supporters we’ve got Future Shock hats made up and will give them to the first 100 people who greet the three weary sailors when we dock in Coffs Harbour, so come and say hello,” Ellis said.



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