Wonder on water
RENOWNED Coffs Harbour sailor Pierre Gal is putting the finishing touches to a home built boat he aims to use in the 2018 Pantaenius Newport Coffs Coast Yacht Race.
The race leaves Sydney on December 27, turns left at North Head and follows the 230 nautical mile course up the eastern seaboard.
Pierre has spent the past 14 months hand-crafting the Marc Lombard design in an industrial shed and believes what will be named Mistral is the only IRC yacht currently under construction in Australia.
"At 34 feet, I think this boat is a nice manageable size and fairly fast,” he said.
"It was originally designed for the Transquadra race but has performed really well under IRC in Europe.”
The France-born former Americas Cup sailor has built eight boats prior to this one, mostly sports boats.
"Having been in the game a long time I'm fairly fastidious when it comes to boats and this way I get exactly what I want.
"The 34's hull is 15-millimetre foam sandwich with e-glass, so it's relatively light and it has lots of room down below with full accommodation.”
Previously, Pierre completely renovated an Inglis 47 after it dropped its rig during the 2015 Rolex Sydney-Hobart where it raced as C.ex Dolce and famously outlasted Wild Oats XI before being dismasted.
Unless sold in the meantime there's a good chance Pierre will muster a local crew and enter the Newport Coffs Coast race under PHS.
"It will be strange having two boats in the race but we're really looking forward to it.
"It's always good to finish at home, plus the race is the perfect length.”
Coffs Harbour Yacht Club Commodore Garry Innes is confident at least four yachts from the home port will enter this year's race.
"It's a fun time of year for locals and tourists alike and we really enjoy it,” he said.
"Everyone joins in and the harbourside is lined with people to welcome the yachts as they hit the finish line.
"When the crews finally hit the club they enjoy a rum or 10 and a beer or five.”