Details of Australia's new east coast offshore circuit, which is scheduled to be held between Pittwater, Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast next January, are now available following the posting of the Notice of Race for all three events.
Already, interest is high. Even before the release of the official information by both the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Southport Yacht Club, yacht owners had registered their desire to be part of the entire circuit.
Within one hour of the circuit being announced, Hamilton Island based Bruce Absolon declared that his recently acquired Volvo 60, Spirit of the Maid, would be the first yacht to commit to all three stages. Soon after, Southport Yacht Club's Matt Percy and John Hall followed suit, Percy with his Beneteau 44, Alacrity – which finished a close second in her division at the recent Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – and Hall with his Dufour 44 performance cruiser, Whisper Four. Barry Thompson has also signalled his intention to compete from Pittwater to Paradise with his Jeanneau 36i, Bad Habits, as has former Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club commodore, Richard Hudson, with his evergreen Farr 45, Pretty Woman.
This week Steven David, owner of the successful canting keel racer Wild Joe – which boasts success in the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race and at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – said he expected to have the new circuit on his racing agenda this summer.
The offshore component of the circuit will start on January 2 with the 29th staging of Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's highly successful 226 nautical mile Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race, and it will culminate with an exciting new event, Sail Paradise – a five-day regatta from January 10-14 which will be staged by Southport Yacht Club just off the Gold Coast's magnificent ocean beaches. Sandwiched between these two significant events will be the inaugural 150nm Coffs to Paradise race which will act as a feeder to the Gold Coast. And there will also be sprint races included, one off Pittwater and two off Coffs Harbour.
Trophies will be awarded for placegetters in each individual stage, and there will be a Perpetual Trophy for the winner of the entire circuit. Participants will be able to contest all races or just one.
While the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour and Coffs to Paradise races will cater for ocean racing yachts, Sail Paradise will be open to a far wider range of sailboats, including the smaller Sports Boats and Etchells classes. Multihulls will also be included, and it is expected the fleet will be boosted by a significant number of local yachts from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Mooloolaba, many of which will be contesting the famous Surf to City race from the Gold Coast to Brisbane on January 16.
Already backed by support from Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Tourism, the organisers at the northern end of this circuit are planning a social agenda that will match the sailing. As well as there being considerable activity scheduled for the club's headquarters at Main Beach, a fun day for competitors, their families and friends is being set for Southport Yacht Club's three-acre facility on nearby South Stradbroke Island during Sail Paradise. Other holiday activities for families on the Gold Coast can include the many theme parks, golf courses and trips to the magnificent hills of the hinterland, in particular Mt Tamborine.
Anyone wishing to download the Notice of Race for the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race, the Coffs to Paradise or Sail Paradise can find the information at http://www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au or www.southportyachtclub.com.au
– Rob Mundle