Doug Coulter’s Shakti from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club have steamed their way up the New South Wales coast to set the record for the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s first ever Club Marine Pittwater to Southport Yacht Race with an official finish time of 0201 EDT on January 4, 2017 gave them an elapsed time of 36hrs, 46mins 07 seconds.
With winds going a little beyond the predicted strength Coulter was very happy with the 46-footer’s performance in the south to southeast breeze reaching top speeds of 23 knots and averaging 18 to 16 knots.
“We reached a top speed of around 23 knots but averaged around 18 – 16 knots most of the way up the coast.” Coulter said.
“The breeze was a little stronger than we expected which got us here pretty quickly” said the skipper early this morning, adding, “in some spots the gusts reached 30 knots.”
Coulter wasn’t too fazed when asked about setting the record but glad that all the preparation paid off with a great team effort and result given it was the boat’s first race to Southport.
Now the wait begins for the team to see if the gap of the rest of the finishing fleet is wide enough for them to maintain their IRC and ORC overall handicap lead. The outcome is one they have no control over as it depends how fast it takes to complete the 370 nautical mile ocean race that began on Monday at 1pm from Broken Bay.
Following in close second for the IRC handicap is the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Le Billet which is currently just south of Tweed Heads. In close second for the ORC handicap is Phil Arnall’s Anger Management from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club.
Doug Coulter’s Shakti has taken full advantage of the current weather pattern to launch their boat up the NSW coast overnight and maintain the lead in the first ever Club Marine Pittwater to Southport Yacht Race.
Shakti passed Coffs Harbour at around 8:30am this morning with gusts up to 27 knots from the south setting up a cruising speed of 14 knots.
Given the current weather pattern and their boat speed, Coulter is confident the 46-footer from Lake Macquarie will reach the finish line off Southport’s Main Beach by tonight, Tuesday January 3, 2017.
“If the breeze holds and we don’t run into any problems I’d say we’ll be finishing around 8pm or 9pm tonight,” Coulter said.
“We’ve had around 20 plus knots pretty much all night,” said the skipper this morning, adding, “we had some little issues which slowed us down but we got them fixed.”
Shakti also leads the fleet on IRC and ORCi handicap.
TUE 03 6.45am
A forecast will be available for any boat returning this week or next week.
No significant change from the previous forecast
The S change has cleared NSW coast and the race area; S wind turning SSE-SE today and generally SE direction tomorrow. The SE wind flow onto the NSW coast is between high pressure near Tasmania and low pressure trough on the central QLD coast. That pattern will be slow to change – the wind slowly easing from the south and slowly shifting left in direction from SSE to SE then ESE.
Frequent showers along the far north coast of NSW and SE QLD coast – scattered showers on the remainder of the NSW coast with little change in the pattern for the next 48 hrs.
strong adverse current near the coast around Smoky Cape and Cape Byron; strong adverse current out near the shelf elsewhere.
FORECAST (wind speed in knots is average, gusts will be higher, particularly around passing showers)
WIND SW-S/15-25 inshore and S/20-25 offshore in the morning. SSE-SE/15-20 inshore and offshore in the afternoon.
Easing to SE-S-SW/10-15 at night near the coast; remaining SE/14-18 offshore
WAVES 1.5-2m waves ; 1.5m SSE swell
WIND S-SE/24-28 easing to SE/20-25 at night
WAVES 1.5-2m waves; 1.5m SSE swell
Like the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet’s quick push south in record time, the Club Marine Pittwater to Southport line-up is set to also enjoy tailwinds after taking a left hand turn out of Broken Bay tomorrow.
The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will set a start line to the north of Palm Beach headland at 1pm on Monday January 2, 2017 and send the fleet to cover a course length of 370 nautical miles to the Queensland Gold Coast and Southport Yacht Club, which will welcome and host close to 200 sailors.
Bureau of Meteorology weather services manager Jane Golding says a front is expected to run up the NSW coast passing Sydney later afternoon or evening on Sunday January 1, 2017, followed by a spell of SE winds that will hit the NSW coastline.
A high pressure system is likely to follow the front and at the same time a tropical monsoon trough and low pressure will be on the central QLD coast. Between these two weather systems the SE wind will be stronger on the northern NSW coast.
Respected yachting meteorologist Roger Badham is supporting the Bureau in terms of supplying specialised race forecasts and he’s predicting a fast race with S-SE winds of 20-25kts easing to 10-15kts on the Hunter and Mid North Coast and likely to remain SE 20-25kts at the NSW-QLD border areas.
This is great news for the lightweight, wide and the planing boats that love running-reaching conditions, and not so great for the narrower and heavier hulls that sail closer to their handicap rating when pushing into headwinds.
Skipper of the Elliott 10.5 High Anxiety, Marcus Grimes, said, “We would be ecstatic if ‘Clouds’ Badham's forecast holds and the more east in the southerly the better, to help us against the symmetrical boats. Our sweet spot is broad reaching.
SUN 01 8am
Forecast for the the Pittwater to Southport race; it will be updated tomorrow, MON 02 at around 7am
The forecast will be sent by email and a second email will include some routeing for yachts of around 38 feet, 40 feet and 42 feet.
If you want to receive some grib files for the race area, then please let me know.
SUN 01 Softer SE-NE in the morning and NE/10-15 afternoon. A few showers developing during the afternoon.
A S change of 25-30 kts expected to run up the NSW coast early morning passing Sydney at around 6am
Wind S/20-25 on the coast that afternoon with S-SSE/25-30 offshore.
The front will be most active with showers and local thunderstorms during the later afternoon and night when on the north coast of NSW.
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