The RPAYC announces a new date for the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race.
In the heyday of offshore racing on the East Coast of Australia, the RPAYC Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race attracted over a hundred boats. Starting the day after the Sydney to Hobart Race, crews would gather on Pittwater for the relative sprint 230nm north to the ever-popular holiday spot of Coffs Harbour.
Seen as the training ground for those working their way up to longer more challenging offshore races or a popular race for those hardened offshore sailors with less time on their hands to get to Hobart and back, the race flourished.
The reduction in boats adventuring offshore, due no doubt to an increase in regulation and legislation, as well as the many other pressures of modern life has impacted numbers and put the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race in jeopardy. The draw of the classic offshore Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race at Christmas swallowing up the vast majority of the offshore fraternity.
However; it was clear to the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club that the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race remains close to the hearts of many current offshore sailors and it was time to review the east coast racing calendar and find a suitable place for the race to prosper; it was decided upon a week before the Easter weekend – Friday 3rd April 2020.
“The Brisbane to Gladstone Race starts on Good Friday each year and Port Stephens Race Week is at the end of the month so boats can use the race as a step north or there is plenty of time to get back to Port Stephens for the IRC Championships” explains Nick Elliott, RPAYC Race Director. “The timing of the start, 1300hrs Friday 3rd April, should have everyone finished in Coffs Harbour by Sunday lunch time for presentations, leaving time to either jump in the car, on an afternoon flight or train back to Sydney ready for work on Monday” continues Elliott.
Proven by early entries , Matt Allen’s double Hobart winning Ichi Ban was one of the first to enter and close rival Gordon Ketelbey has nominated with his TP52, Zen, to battle it out for line honours and an overall win.
The two TP52s won’t have it all their own way in aiming to be first boat home; Darren Drew with his Crowther 50 Catamaran, Top Gun, will hope that conditions favour him and they can give Allen and Ketelbey a close run to Coffs Harbour as well as take out the Multihull division.
Close racing can be expected throughout the fleet and it is by no means a given that one of the TP52s will take out overall honours in the race. Carl Crawford and Tim Horkings’ Cookson 12, Sail Exchange is incredibly competitive, only beaten by 2 lower rated boats in the 2019 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race to finish 16th overall and second in division 5 so expect the higher rated boats to watching the clock at finish for the arrival of Crawford and Horkings.
The host club, RPAYC, will be well represented throughout the fleet and are expected to feature well in the standing come Sunday 5th April. Past Commodore Richard Hudson was the first to enter with his optimised Farr45, Pretty Woman, part of the Pretty Woman Syndicate which includes past Commodore, Russel Murphy and current Commodore Michael Lockley, the boat and crew have done thousands of nautical miles up and down the coast in Blue Water Races and will be all out for a home win.
The race starts off Barrenjoey Headland at 1300hrs on Friday 3rd April 2020. Spectators are welcome, with a great view affordable from Barrenjoey Lighthouse or come out and cheer the boats from the water.
YB Tracking and Facebook updates will be live from 1200hrs Friday 3rd April 2020 for those wishing to follow friends and families throughout the race.