The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has taken steps to reduce the prospect of financial and logistical headaches arising from entering a typical Category 2 Australian coastal race such as the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race.
Previously boat owners had to submit paperwork online and also show hardcopies to a club official for them to sight and approve. This year the progressive Newport yacht club is saying that, other than a current rating certificate, radio inspection form and the completed and signed special regulations audit, the rest can be declared online.
“Once owners submit online paperwork, the club doesn’t need to also sight hardcopies,” says sailing manager Brendan Rourke. “The race committee is using technology to record items that would normally be submitted in paper format with the aim of making the entry process less onerous for those wanting to be part of the fleet for the longstanding January 2nd coastal race.”
Organising committee chairman Richard Hudson confirms there’s again no HF radio requirement. Taking this a step further, for the first time in the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs ocean race’s history the club has done away with radio position reports altogether.
“It can be a bit of a project to enter a Cat 2 race,” Hudson says. “We are reducing the red tape by doing away with the expensive barrier of an HF radio as well as position reports, which are in essence obsolete given the technology we have, plus removing duplicate paperwork.”
Behind the scenes the RPAYC has been auditing the accuracy of its YellowBrick tracking system for the past three years and with a 99% plus success rate pinpointing a yacht’s location the trackers have more than proven their reliability. Starting with the 34th edition of the popular New Year race at 1pm on January 2, 2015 off Barrenjoey headland on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, each yacht’s tracking device will officially record its position minute-by-minute.
“Given the accuracy of the YellowBrick trackers plus the fleet’s near proximity to the shoreline, the quality of the mobile phone network and easy access to numerous safe ports over the 226 nautical mile distance, HF is no longer relevant for the event,” Hudson advises. “We are embracing more modern technology.”
An “amazingly positive first experience,” in January this year ensured Mark Gorbatov’s planned re-entry for his defending PHS division 2 Hanse 385, Out of Sight. “I do intend to enter the 2015 Pittwater to Coffs. For many of the crew the 2014 edition was our first offshore race and one of the important things was the club didn’t require us to carry an HF radio. This ruling was ‘make or break’ for our entry in terms of the complexity and cost.”
Owners choosing not to install an HF radio must carry a Satellite phone for emergency purposes. All other communication between the race committee and entrants will be handled via mobile phone and closed social media channels including Facebook.
The trackers will also follow the fleet for the Coffs Harbour Solitary Island Race on January 5, 2015. In essence the race committee can watch the race unfold virtually right from the pursuit style start, and if there’s a problem with the weather or it looks like the time limit might come into play the committee can easily shorten the course and advise the fleet.
But wait! There’s more. A Christmas bonus of $270 off this year’s entry fee for both RPAYC members and non-members and the elimination of extra charges to race under multiple handicap categories. The non-member entry was $770 and is now $500, the member price was $670 and is now $400 and additional scoring categories were $50 each and are now free of charge. Owners can compete under IRC, ORCi, PHS, OMR (Offshore Multihull Rule) and one-design handicaps. The entry fee is all-inclusive with no additional processing fee per crewmember.
Applications for entry close Friday December 5, 2014. New event website www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au/
By Lisa Ratcliff /RPAYC media