Pittwater-Coffs race fleet looks strong

ROYAL Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) estimates it will receive more than 70 entries by the time nominations close on December 5 for the 28th Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race.

Event director Chris Stone said enquiries had started to gain momentum.

“We're pleased with the response so far and on par with where we were at the same time last year,” he said.

The 226 nautical mile warm water classic gets under way on January 2, 2009, at noon and will attract enthusiasts from a broad base of yacht clubs across Australia and a mix of experienced offshore sailors, youth and newcomers to the sport of ocean racing due to its desirable distance, destination and spirit.

In 2008, a field of 60 starters had their hopes dashed when weather forced cancellation of the main northward trek, in favour of a localised race.

But the yachties are back in force with high hopes of victory, including Matthew Short who bought a new boat earlier in the year for his third attempt at winning the race.

Julian Farren-Price will be back with About Time after finishing a close second to Le Billet in the 2007 series and fourth overall in the Coffs race. “I'm looking forward to crossing swords again, hopefully with a different outcome,” he said.

Some of the better-known yachts already entered include King Billy, a three-times veteran of the race, Bill Ebsary's 2007-08 series winner Le Billet, John McConaghy's custom-built Second Time Around, Dark and Stormy Witch, Pretty Woman, First Priority, Hansky, Wild Oats X and Shot of Courage.

RPAYC Commodore Russell Murphy said his organisation can't wait for the race to begin. “The Pittwater to Coffs race is the major event on the Alfred's racing calendar and remains one of the most popular ocean races in Australia.”

The Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Offshore Series will be a two race event in 2009, made up of the main run up the coast and the Solitary Island race January 5.

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