The 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta, commencing Tuesday 2 January, is shaping up to be a race of stamina and tactics for the highly competitive fleet; many of which are of very similar size and performance.
From the Bay of Islands, NZ, Rp42 Rikki and her crew of 11 including owner and skipper Ray Haslar, sailed from their home base of Keri Keri Yacht Club to Newcastle, a 1,000nm journey ahead of the Race.
Ray, who has sailed a few Sydney Hobarts, including aboard Rikki in 2012, and competed in the Sydney to Southport winter race three times, said the voyage was “mostly boring” with barely any wind, until they hit a southerly buster just off Newcastle.
“That woke us up! We said ‘welcome to Australia’ and we changed gear and battled it all the way in.”
The crew has swapped Rikki’s delivery sails to racing wardrobe and will head to Pittwater shortly. “It was a very convenient route for us,” said Ray of the “nice triangle” from Keri Keri to Newcastle, where they cleared Customs, then post-race from Southport Yacht Club Marina, which is now operating as a Customs Clearance Site, back home.
Ray is confident Rikki will prove competitive in this year’s P2P, tipping the race record could even be broken by any one of the performance craft in this year’s line-up.
“We have a very experienced crew. They will fly over on 1 January, leaving the whole town empty! There definitely could be a new race record, it just depends on the wind and the currents. And they’re always against you!”
Returning to Category 2 sailing after a 10-year hiatus is Salvatore Ridulfo, owner of the First 44.7 Galileo. “I have competed in the Sydney to Southport before, but have been mostly cruising and sailing in Sydney Harbour for the past decade.”