Thursday, January 5, 2012

Do Or Die at IRC Coffs Regatta and PHS Australian Championships

Mark Griffith’s Sydney 38 Old School took the boat of the day honours on day one of the two days of racing in Coffs Harbour of the Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta. He clocked up a second and a first to finish the day on three points and John McConaghy’s custom 47, Second Time Around took PHS honours also with a second and a first.
Second Time Around Photo: Damian Devine
As a result, Griffith iswithin striking distance of  IRC regatta leader, Exile while McConaghy moves to third behind B52 and Secret Men’s Business #1 in PHS heading into the last day of the regatta.

The mighty nor'easters that battered the fleet during the Pittwater to Coffs offshore were a thing of the past as Coffs Harbour laid on gentle puffy breezes.
 
Exile Photo: Damian Devine
The race committee set the AP ashore at 0930hrs to allow some time for the clouds to spread and the breeze to fill in, dropped it at 1100hrs and instructed competitors to make their way to the course area for a 1230hrs start to contest the first of four races over two days in the five races of the 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta. Race Officer Ted Anderson, wasted no time in setting a course to get the fleet underway.
Old School Photo: Damian Devine
Julian Farren-Price's Cookson 12 About Time, the defending IRC regatta champion returned to the winners circle in race one with a handicap win in a corrected time of 2hrs 42mins 39mins from Old School with the Farr 40, Witchcraft skippered by the “grinner” Brian Ellis placing third. The Farr 45 skippered by Richard Hudson was first over the line in a time of 2hrs 22mins after taking the lead on the downhill run as the fleet rounded split rock.

In PHS, it was the local Coffs boat Paul D’Olier’s B52, a Sydney 41 taking the handicap honours from the McConaghy 47 Second Time Around with another local boat Andrew Johnson’s Overdrive in third.
B52 Photo: Damian Devine
The first race, at 13 nm course was long enough for crews to stretch their legs with some reaching and running. It started off Korffs Islet in a fickle 5 knot South Easterly with the fleet making their way to a wing mark 1.5 nautical miles to the east before a long reaching run to Split Solitary Island, setting spinnakers as they rounded to port for a downwindl leg back to the wing mark for a finish in the Harbour. Fortunately for the fleet the wind swung to the left as an ENE built to 8-10 knots for the reach and run legs of the race.

Race two started soon after the final crossed the finish line for race one. It was more of a sprint with a 5 nautical mile reach and run for a colourful spinnaker finish in the Harbour. In IRC, Mark Griffith’s’ Sydney 38 Old School won on handicap with a one second win over Pretty Woman in a corrected time of 48mins 24secs. Another Sydney 38, Mark Hinchley’s Wizzard finished third. Pretty Woman once again took line honours.

The PHS fleet had John McConaghy custom 47 Second Time Around in front of 2011 PHS regatta winner Garry Holder’s The Real Thing with the Rob Alder’s Cookson 12 OCL One, third.

In the Sydney 38 OD Division the results were repeated in both races with Old School winning from Wizzard and Run to Paradise.

So with two more races scheduled tomorrow to finalise the 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta, Rob Reynolds Exile and Griffiths Old School look set to battle it out for the IRC title with only two points separating them whilst the battle for third is interesting with only three points separating Pretty Woman, currently third, with Witchcraft, Blunderbuss and Wizzard within striking distance.

In the inaugural Australian PHS Championships being run in parallel to the regatta, the Coffs Harbour boat Paul D’Oliers B52 sits four points clear of the RPAYC Commodore Rob Curtis’ Secret Men’s Business #1 and McConaghy’s Second Time Around a further points back in third. 2011 series winner, the ID 35, The Real Thing is a point further back with the Volvo 60 Spirit of the Maid also a chance of bronze.

If the crew of B52 can hold their nerve and sail well tomorrow, they are a big chance to be crowned the inaugural Australian PHS champion. That would be a great result for the sole Coffs Harbour boat in this regatta.

So it all comes down to the wire for both IRC & the Australian PHS Championships in tomorrow’s final day of the 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta. We’ll let you know the result following tomorrow evening’s regatta prize giving at the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club.

Predictwind.com forecast light winds from the East North East for the final day of the regatta. Racing is scheduled to start at 1100hrs.Finally, for the record, Ian Anderson’s Vaya Con Dios, a Farr1104 from the BBYC, was the last boat to cross the finish line in the 2012 Pittwater to Coffs race at 1230hrs, finally ending their massive 226nm journey in a time of 3 days 1hr 12mins 54secs. Now that’s persistence and congratulations to Ian and his crew.

Damian Devine

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