Friday, January 6, 2012

Exile On Old School ...

With a win in the final race today, the 20 nautical mile South Solitary Island race, RPAYC’s Mark Griffith’s Sydney 38 Old School has won the IRC division in the 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta on a count back from MHYC’s Rob Reynolds DK46 Exile.
Old School Photo: Damian Devine
In PHS, it was a nail biting finish that also ended on a count back with local Coffs boy Paul D’Olier’s Sydney 41, B52 winning from the RPAYC’s SMB syndicate Secret Men’s Business #1 with RPAYC Commodore Rob Curtis on board..

Only one of the two races scheduled was completed on the final day of the regatta.

With two wins, a second and a fifth in the four race regatta, Griffith ended on 14 points knowing that he had to win today and overnight leader Reynolds to place third or worse to have any chance of lifting the coveted IRC regatta trophy. Reynolds, who sailed an excellent race was pushed into third place by a mere 8 seconds, also finishing on 14 points. With Griffith’s two wins and Reynolds one in the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, meant he was declared the winner.

Another Sydney 38 Mark Hinchley’s Wizzard finished second in the final race to finish on 27 points, picking up third in the regatta.
Exile Photo: Damian Devine
With a light 5-8 NNE breeze early and a Southerly forecast today, racing got underway just before 1130hrs a after a general recall in the first attempt to get the race underway. The breeze softened to 3 knots as the fleet made their way up to South Solitary Island before the breeze swung 90 degrees to a 10 knot SSE.

The boats set their kites to round South Solitary to starboard and by the time they rounded the island, the breeze was swinging more to the South and building. With all the boats rounded and on a reach back to Coffs Harbour, the southerly kicked in and peaked at 20 knots for a great ride to the finish, The RPAYC Farr 45 Pretty Woman took line honours in a little under three hours. On corrected time, Old School won in 3hrs 14mins 18secs by two minutes from Wizzard and Exile, third.

In PHS, Glen Picasso and his syndicate from the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region banked their best result of the regatta with victory today by 13 minutes from The Real Thing with the SMB syndicate clutching third place.

An elated Griffith’s who has now clocked up four regatta wins in a row said, “this is awesome, totally unexpected. We knew we had to sail well today and we did, the crew put in hard today and were hiking all the way until it hurt. We got a good start, sailed well tactically and just put our heads down to get the job done”

“We came here wanting to win the Sydney 38 Division, so to win the IRC overall is a huge bonus. The crew were fantastic and they pushed hard all the way. We’ve been training hard, so this victory is sweet. I think the 500 plus tacks we did getting here in the Coffs race is good training for the Nationals coming up in a couple of weeks. Thanks to the RPAYC and CHYC for a great regatta, we’ll be back next year,” added Griffith.

Griffith who also won the Sydney 38 OD division for the regatta will be outright favourite leading into the Sydney 38 OD Nationals to be hosted by the RPAYC from 26-28 January with twenty Sydney 38s expected to enter.

Second placed IRC winner Rob Reynolds offered, “It has been an excellent regatta, really good racing and just a wonderful time in Coffs Harbour, congratulations to Mark and his team. This is a great event and I’m already looking forward to 2013”.
B52 Photo: Damian Devine
Going into today's final race, Paul D’Olier’s B52 was leading by four points in the PHS division and only had to sail a safe race to win. For D’Olier, all was going to plan as they were reaching back to the harbour for the finish in the 20 knot southerly when 80 percent of the rudder broke off and steering became an issue. It looked like their race and, potentially their regatta was over., However, they pulled their main down, put up their No.4 headsail and then their trisail and persisted to get to the finish line. All they had to do was finish which they did, almost an hour later.
Secret Men's Business #1 Photo: Damian Devine
For Secret Men’s Business #1, sitting in second place needed a top two placing to take the title away from B52, but in the end they finished third forcing the result into a count back.

With their win in race two, B52 were announced the winner of the dual PHS Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta and the inaugural Australian PHS Championships. Last year’s winner Garry Holder’s ID35, The Real Thing was third, a further four points behind.

For B52 owner/skipper, D’Olier in his seventh Coffs assault who also uses the boat to teach people how to sail yachts was thrilled with his win despite his mishap on the course today,

“What a brilliant feeling, I am extremely happy and the crew are ecstatic. Most of these guys and girls in my crew have never done a long offshore race before and have never raced under spinnaker, so I am really pleased for them. They worked hard all the way in every race, they never gave up, so to win the regatta and the Australian PHS title is just amazing. This is what we set out to do, I’ve podiumed before but this is my first win, so I’m stoked. It’s been a great regatta” commented D’Olier at tonight’s regatta prize giving held in the marquee at Coffs Harbour Yacht club

So with the 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta now over, everyone’s looking forward to 2013.

With a tough, tactical and long battle to windward in the 2012 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race that clocked 22 knots, the race offered up a new line honours winner in Craig Ellis’ Elliot 57 Future Shock in a time of 35hrs 53mins 9secs and new handicap winners in Rob Reynolds DK46 Exile (IRC) and Future Shock (PHS). This, coupled with the ensuing three races in Coffs Harbour have ensured the 2012 regatta has been an exiting one.

Coffs Harbour Commodore Garry Ennis said, “Despite the high retirement rate and the time it took to get here for the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, it’s amazing to see so many participants enjoying themselves both on water and on shore at the Coffs Harbour Yacht club. We’re grateful to everyone being here and enjoying the party and the sailing. See you all next year.”

Rob Curtis, Commodore of host club The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club summed up the 2012 Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta saying, "It's been a great regatta, we’ve had all conditions, everyone’s had a good time and we’ve had some excellent racing. We look forward to next year to come back to Coffs to continue the tradition of this fabulous event.

“My personal thanks to the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, the marina, John Bacon for the loan of his marvellous vessel the Matthew Flinders, the race committee and the army of volunteers involved and to everyone who has made this a great event. I look forward to seeing you in 2013."

Damian Devine

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