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33rd Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race 2014

Roar Guru
5th January, 2014
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This year’s Pittwater to Coffs Harbour we didn’t have the close finish of last year when it came to line honours battle, but we certainly did have some exciting sailing in this year’s event.

I know that during the recent Sydney to Hobart there were some comments about the lack of Multihulls and Short-Handed Sailing in Australia, so it was pleasant to see that the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) have embraced both of these categories within the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race.

The race began at 1pm on January 2nd, in a light nor’westerly breeze. This allowed the faster yachts, such as Ragamuffin and especially the very swift multihulls like Team Australia and Morticia a rapid reach up the coast.

Sean Langman on Team Australia later reported that they had 32 knots of boat speed at some stages. If you followed the Sydney to Hobart blog, you will begin to understand just how fast multihull racing is comparison to monohulls.

As the race progressed there was no doubt about which yacht was going to take out the line honours for Multihulls. Sean Langman’s Team Australia was in a class all of her own, designed as an outright speed machine, there was no chance that anyone was ever going to get near her.

It would be fantastic in the future to see a challenger compete against Team Australia, what a drag race up the coast that would be.

There was in fact only one yacht capable of keeping close to the multihulls all the way up the coast, and that was the venerable Tp52 Ragamuffin.

While Syd Fischer took Ragamuffin 100 to Hobart, his grandson Brenton Fischer, in his debut as skipper, crossed the line as the winner of line honours for Monohulls.

They also also completed the trifecta of handicap wins by taking out the IRC, ORCi and PHS handicap divisions.

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This is the second year in a row that Ragamuffin has taken out the trifecta of handicap wins, the first yacht to accomplish such a feat in the 33-year-history of this race.

The most spectacular boat to boat duel was between the 2012 handicap winner Exile and Pretty Woman, who virtually match raced each other up the NSW coast, with Pretty Woman finally taking the line only four minutes ahead of her rival.

To put that in perspective these yachts finished 15 hours behind Ragamuffin and a whopping 21 hours behind Team Australia.

Unfortunately the Short Handed Race turned into a bit of a non event.

There were only two contestants, Laurence Pidgeon’s Sweetheart and Bruce McKay’s Wasabi. Sadly Bruce had to retire off Crowdy Head and returned to Newcastle, thus leaving Sweetheart to take the honours when she finished on January fifth.

Now that the RPAYC has taken the bold step of allowing the Multihulls, Monohulls and Short Handed categories together in the same race, hopefully we will see more entries in coming years.

I for one am looking forward to Team Australia getting close to the 10 hour barrier for the race to Coffs.