Coffs Harbour turns on perfect condition for arrival of the fleet

If you had to pick an ideal race finish from a spectator’s point of view this was it. Just after 5.30am this morning the sun was rising on a warm balmy morning and turning the sky a crimson hue. On the horizon and quiet close inshore two yacht silhouette’s appeared. The first was About Time, a Cookson 50, skippered by Julian Farren-Price. After rounding off-lying Korffs Islet, About Time sailed past the Coffs Harbour breakwater and into the inner harbour to claim line honours for the Pantaenius Newport to Coffs Coast Yacht Race 2017 at 5.39am. Followed 15 minutes later by Shakti, a Rogers 46 skippered by Doug Coulter. Thirty minutes later Anger Management, a Corby 43, skippered by Phil Arnall crossed the finish line followed closely by Swish, a Kernan 44, skippered by Steve Proud and then Elena Nova, a Judel & Vorlijk 42, skippered by Craig Neil.

Provisional results for the IRC and ORCi divisions are looking very strong for Anger Management to take first place in these two divisions with still six boats yet to finish the race.

Skipper of Anger Management, Phil Arnall, was pretty happy with his place in the race. “This is the first time after 10 years of competing in the Coffs Race with the same 10 dedicated crew members that they will win a place“

Phil said “after years of competing in this race the crew were not tempted to go out to chase the breeze but stayed close in and hugged the shore line as much as possible”.

About Time had earlier made the decision to tack out to get more wind but got hammered by the current and lost ground.

Phil said “About Time made a valent effort to tack back in and in the early hours of the morning all the lead boats all merged together again with us inshore and then the race was on again… which was fantastic” “ Then the long water-line boats took off a bit so the crew stuck at it and we plugged away and were only about an hour behind Shakti at the finish line which gives us on handicap enough headroom to get a place…so we were pretty happy with that”

Julian Farren-Price said “We were pretty disappointed that our decision to go out wide meant we lost ground in the strong current. He said” but to the crews credit they performed magnificently to tack back into contention and create the boat speed to get them back into the race”.

Steve Proud on Swish said that with forty hours on the nose and tacking every 10 or 15 minutes he had lost count of how many tacks he did in the race because it was just too many to count. He said ‘most crew off watch did not get much sleep”. He remembers lying on his bunk and being hurled from one side to other.

Swish has competed in previous Coffs Races that had been downhill sailing most of the way – which was fun – but a couple of things they did this year in the north easterly headwinds just did not pay off” He said “they thought there might be a bit more pressure off-shore but it wasn’t to be”

With six more boats still tacking their way up the coast the last boat is expected to be in around midnight tonight when the results for the Performance Handicap System (PHS) will be finalised. Final results in the ORCi division has already put Anger Management in first place but there is still a threat to Anger Management’s first place in the IRC division depending on the times of the remaining competitors.

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