Consistent strong southerly breezes for the first ever Club Marine Pittwater to Southport Yacht Race hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club brought in the last boat, Ian Edward’s Firefly, from 18 starters to the finish line at 22:10 EDT on Wednesday January 4, 2017.
Doug Coulter’s Shakti, a Rogers 46 from Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, not only claimed line honours in the Club Marine Pittwater to Southport Yacht Race but also collected the silverware for first place in both IRC and ORCi divisions.High Anxiety pre-start, before tearing their spinnaker
Shakti is the Hindu Goddess of power or force – and there was plenty of power in the boat’s run up the coast riding the south to south-east breeze, leading the fleet from the outset and setting a race record of 36 hours, 46 minutes, 07 seconds. Shakti’s average speed ranged between 16 – 18 knots with a top speed of 23 knots.
The pre-race forecast foretold a fast course time from the 1pm start from Broken Bay with competitors eager for a thrilling downhill run into Southport on Queensland’s south east coast. With gusts reaching 30 knots, the downhill run came at a cost for some owners and sail makers can look forward to a flurry of orders for replacement spinnakers.
Marcus Grimes, winner of the race’s social media competition for best live update, commented in one of his videos: “It’s been a pretty eventful race for us, we’ve been having a lot of fun but I reckon we’ve gone through every spinnaker in the bag.” Even with the added challenge of spinnaker issues, Grimes’ Elliott 10.5 High Anxiety claimed additional race prizes to go with their social media awards - third PHS overall and third PHS Division 2.
First on PHS was Jan Scholten and Stephen Parker’s Panchax, aptly named the “giant killer” by RPAYC Club Coach Tom Spithill due to their performance against the larger fleet. The Stewart 34, one of the smallest boats in the fleet, began the 370 nautical mile race strongly mid-fleet and maintained boat speed all the way up the coast to cross the line in 13th place and take victory in the PHS overall results and also PHS Division 2.