Pittwater and Coffs Regatta–Fast Forward not looking for line honors

'The Real Thing', an ID35 skippered by RPAYC's Garry Holder, the current PHS regatta title holder - Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2012
Damian Devine
Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta - In the 30 year tradition of racing to Coffs, boats both big and small have battled it out up the east coast in the first ocean race of the New Year. Smaller boats have always been an integral part of the fleet giving them an opportunity to stretch their legs and get involved in a challenging, tactical race up the east coast of Australia and for some, the Pittwater to Coffs race, will be their first ocean race.

Given the right conditions and the weather Gods on side, often it’s the smaller boats that can pinch the handicap honors over their bigger rivals. In 2011, the Hick 30 ‘Carats n Kilos’, the smallest boat in the fleet skippered by John Santifort from the CYCA took home the PHS Division crown when aided by a gusting Southerly across the stern for the majority of the race.

‘Carats n Kilos’, a Hick 30 skippered by John Santifort from the CYCA won PHS race handicap honours in 2011 - Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2012
Damian Devine

Proving that even the smallest boat can win a Coffs Race, Santifort even surprised himself with how quickly he got to Coffs. With his room booked for the next day, Santifort didn't have a bed for himself or crew when he arrived, and with his boat too small to sleep six, he had to find alternate accommodation.

The Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta 2012, a five race regatta hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has again attracted a number of small boats to the event providing a race within a race towards the back of the fleet.

The smallest boat to enter so far for 2012 is ‘Shaya Moya’, a MBD Mount Gay 30 skippered by Cronulla’s SC Greg Barter and is a regular in this race. Another small boat and also a first timer to this arena is Botany Bay Yacht Club’s Brendan Lyon’s Carter 33, ‘Fast Forward’.

Lyon spoke about his aspirations for the regatta, 'Fast Forward’s crew are really looking forward to the 2012 Pittwater to Coffs regatta. This will be our first long offshore race, so it’ll be a big learning curve for us. Our crew is a mix of experienced and new sailors, so it’ll be a great learning experience and great fun. We’re all good friends on board and it’ll make for a fantastic week over the New Year break. Warm weather and a long passage race to Coffs will be a perfect way to kick off 2012.'

'The Pittwater to Coffs race has got an excellent reputation as a race that delivers tough strategic sailing on the water and a great off-water experience too.'

Lyon will have nine crew on board, all friends and for all but two it will also be their first Coffs race. The exceptions are Arnim Strelow and Brendan’s brother Stuart who have done a couple of races to Coffs previously with RPAYC’s John Bacon ‘Hussy’. Stuart will act as navigator and assisting on the helm with Stuart joking, 'We will be going old school for this one; we’re certainly not going for line honors!'

'The Sydney crew are all members of Botany Bay Yacht Club and race Fast Forward every week in offshore and inshore regattas. We’ve been doing a range of courses and offshore passage sails over the past year to get ready, including an equivalent passage from Sydney to Nelson Bay and return nonstop in 4 metre swell, making sure we’ve got experience and know the boat’s capabilities,' added Brendan Lyon.

They will compete in the whole regatta and also the inaugural Australian Performance Handicap (PHS) Championships.
Other small boats to enter the regatta to date are RPAYC’s Garry Holder’s ID35 ‘The Real Thing’, the current PHS regatta champion, Pittwater sailor Colin Watson Cavalier 350 ‘Infinity’ and another Cronulla sailor Greg Brand’s Hick 35 ‘Brand X’ both early retirements from the 2011 race and hoping to reach Coffs in 2012.

For one of these boats, there will be a trophy awarded at the prize giving in Coffs Harbour to the first boat under 36 feet across the line in Coffs Harbour.

So if you fit into this category and thinking of a race in early January then get on board, get your crew together for a great week in Coffs Harbour and get your entry in.

The NoR for both the Pittwater and Coffs Harbour regatta, the Australian PHS Championships and online entry is available here and entries close on Friday 2 December 2011.

For regatta enquiries call the RPAYC sailing office on 02 9998 3771.

‘Fast Forward’, a Carter 33 owned by Brendan Lyon’s BBYC will be its first race to Coffs - Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta 2012
Damian Devine

Pittwater to Coffs Regatta website