Race then regatta a challenge
A LARGE fleet is expected to enter the 31st annual Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Ocean race which starts on January 2.
The fact that the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club is holding a regatta involving four Category 4 races after the 226-nautical-mile up the eastern seaboard has plenty of yachties excited about the upcoming warm water classic.
It is anticipated 70 boats will take part in the 2012 race with the
majority staying on to compete for the entire regatta.
Entries for the race have now opened with the release of the Notice of Race by host club, The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC).
When the fleet leaves the RPAYC on January 2, 2012, for the running of the 31st Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, it will be just the start of the expanded aquatic series boasting a new name.
RPAYC Commodore Robert Curtis will be competing in the regatta with his Murray 42 ‘Secret Men's Business' and he's hoping that the 31st incarnation of the event promises to be the best ever.
“The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club invites all past competitors and, indeed, newcomers to get a taste of some challenging and spectacular East Coast racing in this warm water classic that's entering its 31st year,” Curtis said.
“Both the RPAYC and Coffs Harbour Yacht Club have put in a lot of hard work into setting up the regatta and we know this year will be another great event for everybody.”
Curtis added that the allure of the race is the tactical choices that skippers face as they head north.
“The Coffs race offers the crews the great option of going North but also poses the age-old question of inshore or offshore,” he said.
“It is always the main discussion point on the dock prior to the race and always sets up great competition between crews.”
Line honours at the start of this year was won by Bob Oatley's 66 foot ‘Wild Oats X' in a time of 23hrs 6mins 48secs, with Julian Farren-Price's Cookson 12 ‘About Time' winning dual IRC crowns for the race and overall series for the second time in three years and Garry Holder's ID35 ‘The Real Thing' taking out the PHS series Division.
All three have stated their intentions to race in the regatta and defend their crowns.
The fact that so many skippers are eager to be a part of the fleet in 2012 is explained by committee chairman and one of the race veterans Richard Hudson.
The co-owner and skipper of the Farr 45 ‘Pretty Woman' will be sailing in his 26th Coffs race come January.
“I have been in many offshore races and the Coffs is one of my favourites,” Hudson said.
“What I enjoy about the race is the opportunity to sail with good mates and also to give the chance for younger RPAYC members to go in an ocean race.
“As a committee we're very excited to provide a platform for a
national championship for PHS boats.
“It will encourage more entrants to the regatta and we hope to grow this aspect of the event in years to come.”