• Start-of-the-2018-Pittwater-Paradise-Race---Beth-Morley-pic

A combined fleet of 15 Queensland and New South Wales boats is due to line up to the north of Palm Beach Headland at 1pm on January 2, 2019 for the annual 370 nautical mile Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise run up the picturesque New South Wales and south-east Queensland coasts.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse says the last of the sou’easters are likely to influence Wednesday’s start before a dominant north-easterly flow settles in for the remainder of the passage race, which finishes outside the Southport Broadwater on the Queensland Gold Coast.

Winds north to north-east 15-25 knots and fine weather is good news for the older generation boats and crews running conventional rigs, less so for the multihulls and the general comfort level onboard across the fleet, plus the number of tacks it will take teams to zig-zag their way northwards in a heading breeze.

Encouragingly, four very different multihulls, from Dale Mitchell’s 9.2m Lombard trimaran Morticia to Drew Carruthers’ equally well-travelled 15m Queensland based catamaran Rushour, are registered– the most multihull interest in some years.

Among the monohull fleet, RPAYC race director Nick Elliott said the line-up brings together a good selection of production boats; Jeanneaus, Beneteaus and X-yachts, and one-offs like Marcus Grimes’ JV42 called Insomnia, the single-hull line honours favourite.

“We pitch the race as the perfect stepping-stone for those looking to gain more offshore experience via a Category 2 race that offers a number of safe harbours along the way,” Elliott said, adding: “Southport is also a great place to meet the family at the other end and enjoy the Queensland holiday season, with all its offerings!”

The bluewater race’s finish partner, Southport Yacht Club, is well used to taking in tired and hungry yacht crews and showering them with warm Gold Coast hospitality. The 2019 edition, the third Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise race, will be no different.

Following the completion of the ocean race SYC will run their annual short-course Bartercard Sail Paradise Series, January 6-9. 

- Lisa Ratcliff

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