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Pittwater to Coffs Race

Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race 2016- A straightforward final night at sea for the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race fleet brought the last boat, Out of Sight, from 42 starters to the finish line at 0632hours this morning, Monday January 4, 2016.

All boats are safely tied up at Coffs Harbour marina on the NSW Mid North Coast or heading for home ports and the final placegetters have been declared. What was touted a promising smaller boat race for handicap turned out to be a big boat run north, at least for the major IRC trophy.

Line honours winner for the second year, Karl Kwok’s 80-footer Beau Geste (RHKYC), also takes home the key IRC overall and IRC division one silverware, a bonus prize pack says Kwok. Beau Geste maintained a decent pace for most of the 226 nautical miles in the predominant sou’easterly winds and came to the finish hot doing 20 knots of boat speed, with bow spray flying. They missed Wild Oats IX’s 2003 race record by just 16 minutes.

“Getting the record is something on our minds, but with the line honours and IRC overall win we achieved full marks,” Kwok said today. “Taking IRC overall is definitely an unexpected bonus! For all those who participated in this great race, they must be diehards like me! It was so nice to have big fleet for this event.”

Second IRC overall, first in IRC division two and first on ORCi handicap went to Adrian Van Bellen’s J/122 Jackpot from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. “It’s unbelievable; the conditions were perfect for us,” said the first time Coffs race owner/skipper. “I cannot speak highly enough of the crew; the credit should go to them. They are an inspiration to me.”

It’s been a steep learning curve for Van Bellen given he bought his first boat, a Compass 28, less than eight years ago.

Jackpot’s navigator Carl Crafoord said they competed without all the usual Rolex Sydney Hobart aids like MetEye and weather routing, instead “looking at the sky and sailing by seat of our pants… like back in the 80s. It was fun!”

Pittwater to Coffs Race fleet all in and placegetters declared

Jackpot IRC overall 2nd© Crosbie Lorimer

In the downhill slide the planing asymmetric boats fared best, third overall on final IRC standings going to Bob Steel’s Mills designed Quest, the current Australian Yachting class B IRC champion.

Steven Proud’s Kernan 44 Swish from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, raced north by co-skippers Billy Sykes and Murray Gordon in the owner’s absence, took out PHS division one.

Dockside Sykes recounted a very random mid-race attack. “We went through a school of squid… we had four or five jump on the boat flicking around. I was standing up and one hit me in the back; I thought it was one of the guys winding me up. It was pretty funny…a first that’s for sure!”

Another beamy downwind flyer, Marcus Grimes’ Elliott 10.5 High Anxiety sailing for the race organiser the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, finished the lead PHS division two boat.

“We had a great ride with big smiles all around and we are thrilled with the result,” said Grimes. “I am very happy for the crew and would like to thank the organising committee at RPAYC and the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club.”

Peter Wilcox’s Schionning Force catamaran called Mojo beat the rest of the multihulls in division on corrected time and Jeff Dusting’s AdventureSafety Jem from Sandringham won the Shorthanded division.

This evening two members from each crew will attend a Mayoral reception at Coffs Harbour Yacht Club prior to the end of race trophy presentation at approximately 1700hrs. All crews are welcome to attend the prizegiving.

Tomorrow is the pursuit style Club Marine Solitary Island race kicking off with the race briefing at 1030hrs at CHYC where starting handicaps will be issued. The fleet of 17 will start and finish in the harbour from midday onwards and the BOM has issued a strong wind warning, which should make for a fast, fun race. The fleet can be tracked here.

by Lisa Ratcliff

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