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Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2014: Multihulls added to program

Team Australia on  way to the finish

Team Australia on way to the finish

In the year of the super catamaran, Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has announced it has opened the doors of its premier event to multihulls.

The home club of the two-time winning America’s Cup skipper, James Spithill, has declared that after 32 years of conducting the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour ocean race and regatta for monohulls, the event now welcomes eligible multihulls.

The RPAYC at Newport has recognised the multihull market’s potential and development in terms of the technology race, and believes their inclusion will inject the Category 2 bluewater race and regatta with a new energy while creating an opportunity to bring the two fleets together.

Within days of the Notice of Race being amended, Paul Nudd from Wangi Sailing Club at Lake Macquarie had signed up for the 226 nautical mile coastal classic starting January 2, 2014 from Broken Bay.

Sean Langman’s radical Orma 60 trimaran, Team Australia, currently the fastest multihull in the Southern Hemisphere, was the second multihull entry immediately following.

“Inviting multihull competitors to contest the Pittwater to Coffs race for the first time in more than three decades is a great opportunity to extend the event,” said the organising club’s committee chairman, Richard Hudson.

“Given the awesome action we’ve just witnessed in the America’s Cup in San Francisco, we feel it’s the perfect time to give multihulls this opening.

“Multihulls have limited opportunities in Australia to race offshore with keelboat fleets; welcoming them within the Coffs fleet is very exciting,” Hudson added.

The response to the club’s move was swift and positive.

“Team Australia’s crew is excited to have officially entered the 2014 Pittwater Coffs race,” said Sean Langman.

“RPAYC is to be applauded for including a multihull division. The decision to invite Cat 2 offshore racing multihulls to race is an historic Australian yachting initiative,” he added.

Paul Nudd was the first multihull entry in the event’s history with his Brendan Egan designed 30-foot (9.1m) catamaran Two Tribes, which was primarily built for inshore racing but also has offshore capabilities.

“This decision has been a long time coming,” said Nudd. “I’ve been lobbying the mainstream yacht clubs since 1990, dropped out of the scene in 2000 and have just come back into the sport.

“This past America’s Cup and Sean Langman trying to get races going with Team Australia I think has made the difference. Sean has been working hard; he’s got a lot more clout that I ever had.”

Nudd last competed in the Pittwater Coffs race in the 1990s short-handed on a keel boat. This time he’ll be racing a slippery minimalist catamaran with the required crew of five and in the right conditions sees the potential for a 24 hour record run to the mid north NSW coast.

‘If we get ideal conditions, in our case that’s a 15 knot sou’easter, we will be racing at speeds in the mid-20s and could do it in 24hrs.”

The multihulls will battle it out for handicap honours in a separate division under the Offshore Multihull Rating Rule (OMR) and vie for their own line honours trophy and race record. This will preserve the 10 year monohull race record set by Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats IX in a time of 18 hours 29 minutes and 14 seconds.

“A lot of people are talking about the RPAYC’s announcement and there is quite a bit of interest. I’ll certainly be lobbying the guys at our next regatta,” promised Nudd.

Double the size of Two Tribes will be Langman’s high profile trimaran, which made the news earlier in the year for setting a new World Sailing Speed Council passage record from Sydney to Hobart.

“To have a boat the calibre of Sean’s Team Australia is great for this race and will be a spectacle at the start line and in Coffs Harbour for the finish,” said Hudson.

The warning signal for the Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour fleet will be 1300hrs on January 2, 2014, after the multihulls have led the way off the same start line. Their start time will depend on the number of entries in this new division.

The multihull finish will be the outside finishing line off the entrance to the main harbour formed by the Coffs Harbour Blue Lead Lights in transit.

Due to the layout of the Coffs Harbour marina unfortunately multihulls can’t be accommodated in the harbour. Instead they will be provided with moorings in the outer harbour. Prior to the start multihulls will be accommodated at RPAYC on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

For more information on the race and regatta, go www.pitttwatertocoffs.com.au

By Lisa Ratcliff / Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta media

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