The sight of yachts heading into Coffs Harbour Jetty at the end of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race is one that won’t be enjoyed by spectators in January.
The sight of yachts heading into Coffs Harbour Jetty at the end of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race is one that won’t be enjoyed by spectators in January. Contributed

Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race dry docked for a year

THE damage caused by the east coast low to Coffs Harbour International Marina at the start of June has claimed another victim.

The time-honoured warm-water classic, the annual Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race, will not be run in the new year.

Given the damage to the finger-wharves, organisers of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's signature offshore event chose to alter the 2017 race and instead have it bypass Coffs Harbour with the finish line moved to Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast.

RPAYC Commodore Ian Audsley said the decision ensured the race fleet would be safe at the race's end.

"We need to assure boat owners well in advance there are suitable facilities at the finish to accommodate them," Commodore Audsley said.

Coffs Harbour Yacht Club Commodore John Wait, admitted he was surprised when he received an email from the RPAYC informing him of the decision.

Commodore Wait said he had assured the club that all damage at the marina would be repaired by the end of September, more than three months before the starter's cannon would be fired for the traditional New Year's race.

"Marina management is confident the job will be finished by the end of September," he said.

"Three fingers are now fully operational and two brand new fingers (will be) here in a matter of weeks."

Commodore Wait said the decision disappointed the club, especially when work on the northwall and slipway had cut patronage by 85% and Coffs Harbour City Council was considering a rent rise the club could not afford.

He said it was not all negative though.

Since learning of the RPAYC's decision, the local club has looked at hosting an alternative race this summer.

"We've been in touch with a couple of Sydney clubs about holding a race between Christmas and New Year," Commodore Wait said.

"That's the original time frame that the Pittwater race used to be held and we're waiting to hear back from them," he said.

The decision does not spell the end of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.

"We (the RPAYC) hope to return to Coffs Harbour for our 2018 race when the infrastructure is back in place," the race website. says.

Commodore Wait said he and the club had been assured by the club at Sydney's northern beaches that it intended the race finish to return to Coffs Harbour 12 months later.



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