Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wedgetail Wipes Out Ragamuffin - Coffs to Pittwater Race

Bill Wild’s Queensland RP55 Wedgetail has crossed the finish line at 8:53am this morning to take line honours in the 2013 Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race. The time of 19hrs 53 min 3 secs was three and a half minutes ahead of the TP52 Ragamuffin, in one of the closest finishes seen in this race. It was the second fastest time in the history of the race, At an hour and a half outside the race record, it was the second fastest time in the history of the race,
Wedgetail    Photo: Damian Devine
Both boats had an interesting battle throughout the race in what Syd Fischer, skipper of Ragamuffin, described as “neck and neck all the way”. At 6:00 am this morning as the boats passed Nambucca Heads for their final radio check, Ragamuffin held a 1.5 nautical mile lead with only 20 miles left to sail.

But Wedgetail managed to get the better of the wind angles to take the lead 45 minutes from the finish. Skipper Bill Wild said of the race,
Ragamuffin    Photo: Damian Devine
“It was a good race, not too demanding but we had a good battle with Syd. We led at the start then Syd took over, then we led for a little bit in the middle, then he got back on top. So, it kept us on our toes and luckily the breeze held in through the night which was pleasing. It was the outcome we were looking for,” Skipper Bill Wild said

"After dropping the kite over the side at first light, we were able to regroup and get another one up. It paid to be the better choice. We managed to get the better of the wind angles, have the right sails and there was just good crew work and good steering. We managed to get through them in the end, which was the best part and we just held on. It’s very pleasing and it’s great to be here,” he added.

Syd Fischer, the 1996 line honours and handicap winner of this race, praised his crew aboard Ragamuffin. 
“The crew worked hard all the way and worked well together. There a great bunch of guys and unfortunately it wasn’t to be in this race, but that’s yacht racing. The race overall was enjoyable and not too difficult. The boat performed well.”

The crews of both boats were met by a welcome party assembled on Mutton Bird Island and the breakwall on the opposite of the harbour as they crossed the finish line and then presented with the Line Honours Bell Trophy by CHYC Commodore Garry Ennis at the Coffs Harbour marina.

Fischer still leads on IRC handicap however, and with the breeze now easing on the remainder of the fleet, the prized handicap trophy could still be his. He leads in IRC from Wedgetail and Swish and also in ORCi from Swish and Pretty Woman. In PHS, at present it is Wedgetail ahead of Ragamuffin and Swish in third.

The next boats to finish will be the Kaiko 52 Merlin, the Kernan 44 Swish and the Marten 49 Perpetual Mocean who are bunched very closely together doing 5-6 knots as they approach Nambucca Heads with approximately 24 nautical miles to sail. They aren’t expected in until late afternoon.

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Damian Devine
Club Marine Pittwater Coffs Harbour Regatta Media

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