The diverse fleet in this year’s Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta has hailed the event “a brilliant way to start the year” and a great reason to travel north for summer on the Gold Coast, sight seeing and some competitive sailing.
Michael Martin’s TP 52, Frantic arrived first at Southport Yacht Club on Thursday 4 January at 07:24 AEDT, taking line honours after 418 nautical miles, compared to nearest rival Nine Dragons which sailed 398 nautical miles. They had the Club to themselves for a few hours and after a shower and well earned beverage, they toasted their win over a hearty breakfast and declared the P2P “THE best race we’ve ever sailed!”
Ahead of starting the P2P, Frantic made the return from Hobart, where they came 11th in their Division and 24th over the line.
The P2P was their first win of 2018 and something the whole crew are very proud of.
“It’s a new race and is gradually making a name for itself – it’s a great destination,” said Mick of the P2P, hinting that they would be keen to enter again in 2019.
Overall winner, Ray Roberts’ Checkmate of Hollywood, came in fifth place and was unanimously admired for her looks and her performance.
The legendary 40 year old, 50-foot, IOR Doug Peterson design Checkmate of Hollywood was competing in her first Australian race and after missing the Sydney Hobart due to damage on the delivery to the start line, all eyes were on this classic yacht and she did not disappoint.
“It was our first Australian race, after the disappointment of missing the Hobart,” said Michael Spies. “We backed ourselves. The competition wasn’t soft. Nine Dragons is an Australian champion. It wasn’t ideal conditions for our boat, but the boat lived up to our expectations – more than!
“Having run grand prix boats for 30 years, with a world champion crew, a mix of youth and experience, Checkmate was vastly different. It’s a 40 year-old timber boat, not carbon fibre. She’s a lot harder to steer, but more forgiving in motion, not as hard on the body. It was nice to have a hot meal and good sleep. We actually had an oven! It just proves the IRC rule is doing its job.
“Full credit to Ray Roberts and his enthusiasm for Checkmate and supporting this event,” continued Spiesy. “He had a vision and supported getting this boat back to Australia. For the crew, it was different, we worked hard without breaking the boat, learning about it on the way.”
Second over the line and winner of IRC Division 1, Dk46 Nine Dragons, followed Frantic a few hours later at 11.28 AEDT, but enjoyed a close battle with the TP52 in the early stages of the race.
Nine Dragons’ owner, Bob Cox said his crew enjoyed “a relatively easy race, with only a few challenges when the number 4 spinnaker exploded, but the crew did a great job”.
He was impressed with the fleet and the event, saying that despite the relatively small numbers, “competition was intense and you can’t beat ending up on the Gold Coast”.
“It’s an enjoyable and worthwhile race,” Bob continued. “We would seriously consider coming back next year.”
Pretty Woman, the Farr 45 co-owned by RPAYC Commodore, Michael Lockley, Richard Hudson and Russell Murphy, shadowed Nine Dragons the whole way to the Gold Coast, where Pretty Woman missed “slaying the Dragon by just 4 minutes.”
The appeal of the P2P, according to Michael is the mixed bag of conditions that summer sailing delivers. “We sailed upwind, downwind, and used every sail. We enjoyed the full spectrum of sailing. We used three different spinnakers, as well as J1, JT and J2.”