Debutantes line up for Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race

Friday, 29 November 2013

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s decision to remove a significant cost to compete in its major event, the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour ocean race, has opened the door to a new group of debutantes.

Closing date for entries is one week from today, Friday 6 December, and regulars and newcomers alike have only seven sleeps to lodge their entry and paperwork.

Last month the progressive Sydney Northern Beaches yacht club announced that boat owners are allowed to compete in the 33rd running of the event carrying a satellite phone as an alternative to HF radio for communication purposes, a major coup for the longstanding event.

Thanks to the club’s foresight, Andrew Butler’s Dufour 36 Astral from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is now one of the newcomers signed up for the 2014 edition starting January 2nd from Broken Bay.

"The relaxation of the HF requirements was a significant factor in our decision to proceed with the race and I commend the club on making a balanced decision that does not compromise safety but allows the Cat 2 races to become more accessible to newcomers to the sport,” said Butler.

"It's an expensive exercise getting a boat up to Cat 2 certification and to tie up possibly $5K on  a single bit of kit is a big investment, particularly for a race such as Coffs where other technologies such as yellow brick and Sat phone are available to achieve the same outcome."

The previous requirement for HF radio being an obstacle to participation was feedback competitors took to the club. “The club listened to the comments and responded proactively and responsibly,” said Pittwater Coffs organising committee chairman, Richard Hudson.

“By taking away a significant expense for owners we have opened up the event to any number of new competitors. We expect the decision will have a very positive impact on entries in the coming years,” Hudson added.

Other new recruits to the popular northern race, the first offshore event of Australian East Coast calendar, include Nick Jones’ Hanse 375, Granny Jen, and Roy Leslie's Elan 37, Koko, both representing the Gosford Sailing Club.

Laurence Pidgeon, a former bull rider reared in the Queensland outback town of Stonehenge is a first timer in the short-handed division with his Jutson 39, Sweethart. In 2006 Pidgeon moved to Brisbane, swapping his riding boots for sea boots, and took to it like a duck to water, even tackling the Rolex Sydney Hobart two years ago.

Now he and one other crewmember will have a crack at the 226 nautical mile northern coastal classic, racing short-handed for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

Once the fleet arrives in Coffs Harbour the second stage of the regatta will get underway with four races scheduled over January 5 and 6.

The 2014 regatta will once again play host to the third annual Australian PHS Championships which all monohull entrants will be eligible to compete for.

So far six multihulls and a handful of monohull newcomers have registered alongside many race regulars for the 1pm start on January 2nd off Barrenjoey Headland (monohull fleet).

Owners contemplating the combined popular northern race and subsequent regatta at Coffs Harbour have until Friday 6 December 2013, to lodge an entry and get their paperwork in.

The 2014 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta Notice of Race and online entry is available from the event website at

For race enquiries and documentation please contact the RPAYC Sailing Office on (02) 9998 3771 or [email protected]  

By Lisa Ratcliff/Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta media

Club Marine, Australia’s largest provider of pleasure craft insurance, is proud to be the naming rights sponsor of the 2014 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta.

See Yacht Racing - Ocean & Coastal > Pittwater-Coffs images

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 November 2013 )