Four yachts in race for Pittwater to Coffs honours

In extraordinary circumstances, just four boats are left racing for line and overall honours in the 2024 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race this morning, extreme conditions of up to  only 5 knots and mostly no wind, have forced the retirement of most the fleet, including David Griffith’s Whisper, which had led the race until retiring late yesterday afternoon.

The four ‘stayers’ are led on the water by Ray Hudson’s XP44, XS Moment, while the others are two-handed entries: the J/99, Jupiter (Ian Smith and Billy Sykes), the Beneteau Figaro 3,  Intiy (Andrea Davey and Marc Depret) and Transcendence Rudy Project, a Jeanneau Sun Fast 33 (Martin and John Cross).  All are from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, organiser of the annual 226 nautical mile race, barring Jupiter, which hails from Manly Yacht Club.

While XS Moment leads the line honours chase, at 9.40am she was making progress, but still 68 nautical miles short of the finish line and is currently second overall. At this stage, she is not likely to finish until tomorrow (Monday) evening.

Jupiter is second on line and leads the race overall, but with a distance of 81 nautical miles to reach the finish. Intiy is close behind, while the father and son on Transcendence Rudy Project still have 94 miles to go.

On retiring, David Griffith said from Whisper, “We have pulled the pin and headed to Newcastle. It’s very disappointing. We feel terrible about pulling out, but the time going on is getting ridiculous as people have to go to work.

“There’s not a breath of wind,” Griffith ended.

And with the greatest reluctance, long time RPAYC member, Richard Hudson retired Pretty Woman early last evening.

Hudson said, “We have retired. It’s the first time in around 150 Cat 1 and Cat 2 races. To retire like this is very disappointing. We had a bit of a south-easter but it’s fading and the forecast doesn’t look good. . with nothing ahead.” You could feel his pain.

Coffs Harbour entry, Fez, Pierre Gal’s Stealth 12 catamaran, was among the latest retirements: “All OK on board. Continuing to Coffs,” Gal reported.

Meanwhile, quite a few entries, including three from Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and Craig Douglas’ Popeye from MHYC/RPAYC, retired off Seal Rocks and headed to Newcastle where the crew were taking advantage of a hot meal and drinks at that Club.

Douglas, trying to make the best of a tough situation, claimed: “We’ve won line honours in the Pittwater-Seal Rocks-Newcastle race.”

The 38th running of the coastal classic will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Meanwhile, four boats continue their slow journey to Coffs Harbour, not wanting to let the weather gods get the better of them.

Coffs Harbour Yacht Club always puts on a warm welcome and volunteers from the Club are looking hopefully forward to greeting any finishers.

Follow the fleet on the race tracker at: https://yb.tl/pittwater2024

For all information go to: www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au

Di Pearson/RPAYC media

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