Southern apples & oranges for Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race

Two Victorian first time entrants for the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race starting January 2, 2015 are set to join the local fleet for the annual navigator’s challenge up the eastern seaboard from Sydney to the NSW Mid North coast.

Virgin entrants Rob Hanna’s TP52 Shogun V and Jeff Dusting’s Sydney 47CR Adventure Safety Jem line up just five feet apart in length, but they are apples and oranges in terms of comfort and boat speed, though both have tasted handicap success.

At the lower end of the comfort spectrum is the all-out racer Shogun; lightweight and minimalist with its eight pipe cots for beds, stove, flushing bowl that looks something like a toilet and navigation table befitting a contortionist. During offshore campaigns it’s home, without the luxuries, to the race crew. Constantly moving about and groaning under the enormous loads.

TP52s can reach speeds of 32 knots or close to 60 km/h off the breeze.

Jem’s previous owners, meanwhile, appear to have let loose an interior designer below the teak decks. The lavish internal furnishings put the cruise into the cruiser/racer and make the 47-footer fit for racing and comfy weekend cruising. 

The weight of the Corian bench top galley with double sink and hot and cold running water means they sail better on starboard than on port tack volunteers Dusting, unabashed. Three cabins with snug double beds made up with bamboo sheets and feather pillows, settee and dining table and two heads (bathrooms) make it tough to leave the dry coziness to go on deck.

“It’s surprising it’s as fast as it is,” says Dusting’s partner Sarah Taylor who is in charge of packing the little extras to head offshore – a rice cooker and cocktail shaker for the traditional Bloody Mary at the end, a “great post-race drink” she assures. Even when racing Jem’s galley is used to prepare hot meals and snacks for the crew; Arrancici, Pan Au Chocolat, fajitas, oatmeal with walnuts and ginger crunch.

Typically Jem sails upwind at eight knots and downwind at 12-14 knots.

Shogun V is newly configured for the open ocean, converted from its previous mode of one design short course racing. The Royal Geelong Yacht Club entrant’s foray into the 2014-15 bluewater scene opened strongly with successive wins in the CYCA’s previous two Bluewater Pointscore Series races out of Sydney.

An all-conquering performance by Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin in the 2014 Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race last January delivered line honours and the triple handicap win to the crew, led by Syd’s grandson Brenton Fischer. The Fischers are set to go for the double again this coming season; Syd’s skippering his new Ragamuffin 100 supermaxi to Hobart on Boxing Day and Brenton plus six to eight of the Hobart crew are committed to backing up for the Coffs race, though they are yet to officially enter the TP52.

When Sandringham Yacht Club member Jeff Dusting was in town to buy the stunning Sydney 47CR called Jem from Pittwater on Sydney’s Northern Beaches he noticed the poster for the ‘warm water classic’, the tagline for the Pittwater to Coffs race, displayed at the host Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

He tells the story, “It was our first time at Pittwater where we were buying the boat and happened to see the ad for the ‘warm water classic’. We are sick of going south at Christmas and like the idea of heading the other direction.” 

Dusting has completed numerous Melbourne to Hobart races on previous boats and won Tasmania’s Three Peaks Race, a shorthanded offshore sailing and mountain running event. He figures like the Three Peaks, heading north in the New Year will be a “navigator’s challenge”, choosing the best route to Coffs Harbour over the 226 nautical mile medium distance passage.

Jem has been entered for the northern race as Adventure Safety Jem and will contest the ocean passage with a crew of 10. Adventure Safety is Dusting’s business and a supporter of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria plus the OK and the 505 dinghy classes in that state.

The 34th edition of the long-running Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race is open to cruisers, cruiser/racers, racers and multihulls eligible to compete in the Category 2 race.

Entries are steadily climbing; so far nine entries representing five different yacht clubs and two states have been nominated for the 1pm start on Friday January 2, 2015 to the north of Barrenjoey Headland at the entrance to the Hawkesbury River.

The Notice of Race and online entry is available from Applications for entry close Friday December 5, 2014.

– Lisa Ratcliff

NAV at Home
NAV at Home