Pittwater to Coffs race – north is looking good

There’s plenty of chatter about weather models and the chances of a rough and uncomfortable Rolex Sydney Hobart starting in less than three days’ time, making the choice to head north to Coffs Harbour one week later even more appealing.

It’s not too late for Hobart race entrants that suffer a setback, such as a paperwork delay or late gear failure, and don’t make the start line to switch directions and enter the Cat 2 safety rated Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Race right up until Tuesday 29 December.

The backstop is available to yachts signed off by the Rolex Sydney Hobart organising club as having reached the highest Cat 1 safety and which also satisfy the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s compliance entry check.

“Occasionally Hobart crews are ready to go offshore with the boat meticulously prepared and dozens of dinners cooked and frozen only to come across a last minute hitch,” said Pittwater to Coffs organising committee member Rob McClelland. “If that happens we encourage the skipper to get in touch with the RPAYC’s sailing office and we’ll do everything we can to get them racing on January 2nd.”

The annual race to Coffs Harbour that began in 1981 offers scenic coastal racing and multiple safe ports if something goes awry. Summertime conditions typically put forward a strategic windward work into nor’easterly sea breezes or sou’easters creating a spinnaker run up the coast for part or all of the 226 nautical mile distance.The topography off the New South Wales shoreline is very different to Bass Strait, where winds famously generate powerful seas in the shallow waters and lower latitude storms can unleash.

A healthy fleet of 40 multihulls and monohulls ranging from 80 feet to 30.2 feet (9.2m), well up on this year’s 28 starters, is confirmed for the 1pm start of the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race off Barrenjoey Headland on Saturday January 2, 2016. There’s both quantity and quality among the line-up, from Karl Kwok’s internationally crewed maxi Beau Geste to the two Middle Harbour based DK46s and last year’s IRC and ORCi overall winner, About Time.

OnJanuary 5 RPAYC will host the Coffs Harbour Solitary Islands race, a picturesque island short course tempting competitors in the 35th annual Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Race and other local eligible boats.

January 7 signals the start of the inaugural Bartercard Coffs to Paradise race open to crews wanting to continue further north to Southport for Southport Yacht Club’s signature regatta, Sail Paradise, starting January 13. Details of SYC events here.

All boats competing in the race to Coffs Harbour and Solitary Islands race will carry a tracking device to allow 24hr monitoring via the official website, where all race information is posted.

RPAYC today announced a photo and video competition during the 2016 race with first prize a GoPro Hero Camera. The winner will be the person who produces the best individual on-board photo or video taken during the Coffs race and shared on the Pittwater to Coffs Facebook page, as measured by the most likes and shares.

View the 40 boat starting list here.

By Lisa Ratcliff /RPAYC media

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