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.”
Gold Coast yacht, Auric’s Quest arrived at 12.27 AEDT, fourth across the line.
Owner, Fred Bestall said he and his crew enjoyed this year’s race and would be back again in 2019.
“RPAYC members were very friendly and helpful especially the competitors we met before the start and at the finish. We are looking forward to being part of the P2P next year.”
Salvatore Ridulfo, owner of the First 44.7 Galileo, expressed his congratulations to all competitors, divisional winners and sailors, adding “We had an extraordinary exhilarating sail up the coast. We sailed for more than an hour with the same large pod of dolphins and we also saw a couple of large turtles off Fingal head and a spectacular two-dolphin show just off Main Beach.
“I am impressed by the genuine hospitality and friendship extended to all of us competitors by the SYC from Commodore Kerry and all staff members who were all happy to assist in any way. This was a return to Southport for me after a few years and i was glad to find that the core values and spirit of this club have not changed. I know that many Sydney and Pittwater sailors would seriously consider adding this event and the subsequent Bartercard Sail Paradise to their schedule.”
From James Crowley, skipper of Javelin, an enthusiastic commitment to next year’s event.
“We really enjoyed the P2P and are already considering doing it again next year, providing we can round up more crew – six just aren’t enough when you have 30 knots and a following sea!
“Highlights for us were the few days before the race on Pittwater and the RPAYC hospitality, getting a new boat speed record, finishing the race with less crew than ideal and the SYC hospitality on arrival with the tender to guide us to our berth (at 10.30pm) and a cold case of beer!”
Occasional Coarse Language One owner, Robert Alder and crew said they enjoyed the run north this year and will definitely be back next year to defend her two years of first yacht under 45 feet. “We would like to attempt the triumvirate,” said Robert.
“We would like to thank the weather gods granting us a downwind race from Port Stephens as we love to surf at 175 true in 20 knots plus, sailing above our Polars most of the ride north.
“Thanks to all crew and particularly Navigator Frank Walker as we sailed the shortest distance of all yachts, and found the best breeze and minimum adverse currents all the way.
We broke racing rule one and let the owners steer all race, so thanks to co owner Bill Bailey who steered half the race and whose shoulders are no doubt as sore as mine as a 40 foot yacht with a tiller at 175 degrees in 25 knots with the S2 or 3 can be a handful at times.
“I think we only laid her over four times during the race, and unlike last year where we blew up both kites, we had no breakages this year, so well done crew - Frank, Bob, Beth, Bridget, Max and Woz, Michael.”
The inaugural State of Origin Trophy, awarded based on the lowest aggregate score of the best three boats from NSW and the best three boats from Queensland in the IRC Overall results. NSW was victorious, fielding the majority of boats in the fleet, and took the trophy with pride, challenging more Queensland yachts to come onboard in 2019.
Commodore of SYC, Kerry Noyes said the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta was “a fantastic event with lots of positive feedback”.
“Everybody had a great race up the Coast. Crews absolutely loved it. Feedback had been that they were glad to have sparring partners to race against. Like a race within a race. It made for interesting conversations in the bar afterwards! At the presentation, all competitors said they would come back next year.
“Once they go back and start talking in their Clubs, they will encourage more yachts to join them in 2019, and the race will only grow and grow.”
RPAYC Commodore, Michael Lockley agreed, saying “we had a quality fleet, small, but quality, which invokes the best racing possible”.
“For example, Pretty Woman and Nine Dragons were never more than 2 miles apart and that made for tight and thrilling racing, which is what people go out to do – race boat on boat out on the ocean.
“Full moon racing makes night time racing very scintillating – that’s very special,” Michael continued. “Arriving at the beautiful Southport Yacht Club was wonderful, and our hosts Kerry and Ray and the team at SYC made us feel welcome. It was sensational!
“I invite all those Club racing boats, both cruiser racers and Grand Prix boats to enter next year’s Pittwater to Paradise. This is an event for you, especially boats from 35 to 55ft. There is great competition in this boat size bracket and rating certificates reflect this.
“Our aim is to attract a quality fleet of skippers and continue to be a nurturing ground for up and coming sailors and those in our Youth Development program.
“All in all, the Pittwater to Paradise ticks all the boxes and it will grow because people want to do that type of racing at that time of year. Pretty Woman will be back for sure!”
Dates for the 2019 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta will be 2 January, 2019.
For more information visit http://www.pittwatertoparadise.com.au/