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First entries in for the 33rd Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2014

  • Graeme Hall’s Beneteau First 40 Close Halled at the start of the 2012 Pittwater to Coffs race. (Credit Damian Devine) (Photo by Damian Devine)
First entries in for the 33rd Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2014

Close Halled, Graeme Hall’s 40-footer from Lake Macquarie Yacht Club has been honourably acknowledged as entry number one for the Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour race and regatta.

“It might be the only prize we win,” quipped the former Commodore.

Hall was spending a lot of time at his computer lodging paperwork for the summer’s major coastal races and decided while he was on a roll to complete his entry for the first offshore sailing calendar event of the New Year.

“It’s a hell of a job preparing for the big races so I thought I’d pop my entry in while I was at it. Hopefully we’ll be able to encourage a few more Lake boats to enter,” Hall said.

“The appeal for us is the race length and temperature heading north, plus we’ve always enjoyed great hospitality thanks to the Coffs Harbour community.”

Hall’s Beneteau First 40 has collected solid results in the northern bluewater classics including third in IRC Division C in the 2011 and 2012 Audi Sydney Gold Coast yacht races. An IRC overall third place and second in IRC 2 in the 2011 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race was an unexpected but well-deserved result that was followed up in 2012 with a second in IRC Division 2.

“The First 40s rate well on handicap, plus when we return from Coffs Harbour I can go cruising on the Lake with my wife. It’s a good all-round boat,” added Hall.

Close Halled will carry an unchanged 10-strong race crew north, most of them “old blokes over 60 with a couple of young bucks to do the heavy work” the skipper laughed.

Since the Notice of Race was posted and online entries opened for business, the host Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has received two nominations for the 33rd edition of the 226 nautical mile Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour ocean race.

Second entry and first RPAYC boat, Robert Alder and Bill Bailey’s Cookson 12 Occasional Coarse Language One, recently finished third in their division and fifth overall in the Sydney Gold Coast yacht race.

This will be Alder’s 16th Coffs race and regatta – the boat’s third – and he is keen they continue their run at the podium, which has so far included their Gold Coast result and third in the NSW State IRC Championships at Port Stephens in April.

The 226nm Category 2 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race will start at 1pm on January 2, 2014, off Palm Beach headland on Sydney’s northern beaches. The annual post New Year’s Eve pilgrimage north is part of the RPAYC’s five race Blue Water Series.

Once the fleet has disappeared over the horizon on the 2nd, the club’s race management team will relocate to Coffs Harbour for the second stage of the pointscore, the four windward/leeward and passage race regatta to be run over January 5 and 6. The regatta races are open to category four yachts and with late morning starts just off the harbour entrance, provide the perfect opportunity for competitors and their families to combine a holiday at the popular tourist destination.

The 2014 regatta will once again play host to the third annual Australian PHS Championships, won in 2013 by another Novocastrian yacht from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, Storage King Wallop, a Sydney 41 owned by Peter Hewson.

The 10 year race record is held by Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats IX set in 2003 in a time of 18 hours 29 minutes and 14 seconds and with the right conditions this fastest course time could easily be eclipsed.

The closing date for entries is Friday 6 December, 2013.

The 2014 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta Notice of Race and online entry is available from the event website at www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au

By By Damian Devine & Lisa Ratcliff