Eye on the Prize

Michael Martin’s TP 52, Frantic is storming up the NSW coast, leaving the rest of the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise fleet in its wake and consistent southerlies are likely to push her to the finish line well ahead of the pack, with estimates putting her arrival at between 6am and 7am QLD time, Thursday 4 January.

It will be no race record, Frantic trailing the position of race record holder, the Rogers 46 Shakti, owned by Doug Coulter, by around 69 nm.

In a tussle for second position are Nine Dragons, Bob Cox’s Dk 46, and Pretty Woman, the Farr 45 co-owned by RPAYC Commodore, Michael Lockley, Richard Hudson and Russell Murphy.

Speaking from onboard Nine Dragons, roughly 3 nm out to see off Hat Head, Edward Hawthorne said the south-easterly was providing “exhilarating sailing”.

“We saw a few storms, but it wasn’t too wild. We caught a 25 knot breeze which was helpful, but we blew up a spinnaker, which was a bit of a shock. We’re a bit slower than we’d like, but once it eases off, we’ll try a different spinnaker. Right now, we’re focused on chasing Frantic.”

Biting at their heels, or rather “riding the tail of the Dragon” as Michael Lockley put it, was Pretty Woman.

“We got plenty of breeze, around 31 knots, which is good for us. We’re sailing at about 20 knots boat speed and quite happy. We missed the storms, but we saw them.”

Mick Martin, owner of Frantic, “is definitely pot hunting” said Michael, referring to Frantic’s dizzying schedule of sailing since the Boxing Day start of the Sydney Hobart.

Forecast - Thursday 4 January

THU 04


High pressure forms off the NSW south and central coast today – the high has a strong ridge north up the NSW coast and that is generating solid S breeze on the northern half of the coast, particularly north from around Smoky Cape. 

The stronger S then SE winds will contract further north this afternoon as the high pressure moves NE to be generally over the west Tasman Sea. 

Tomorrow will see E-NE wind develop on the coast south of Smoky Cape with generally lighter SE winds north of there.

The breeze will shift E-NE on the far north coast and SE QLD by later SAT 06.

The next S change looks to reach Sydney later SUN 07 but weaken and fade on the coast between Sydney and Newcastle. 

A stronger S-SE change is likely to move up the NSW coast during TUE 09 stalling and fading somewhere around Smoky Cape.

Day 2 - Forecast - Southerly to bring the Fleet to QLD



S change now through the fleet and S to SE wind will continue until the end of the race for all boats.

Most consistent S wind looks to be THU morning.

There has been an isolated shower or 2 with the S front – most showers and storms were late yesterday with the pre-frontal trough and most ahead of the fleet.

High pressure will build off the NSW S coast tonight and tomorrow, and the S winds will contract north along the NSW coast – easing and shifting SE-NE on the central coast.

The wind will moderate on the NSW north coast later THU and FRI and turn SE-NE later SAT 06.

Off and RACING!

Yachts in the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta took off in superb Sydney summer conditions with a good nor-easterly breeze, at 13.00 AEDT, and a relatively clean start off the line, according to race officials.

The official weather briefing at 9am at RPAYC forecast strong southerly winds late Tuesday night into Wednesday which should make for a quicker race to the Gold Coast. Meantime, denizens of the Gold Coast are battening down for severe thunderstorms between 16.00 until the middle of the night.

“It looks like being around 25 knots later tonight dropping off to 15 knots tomorrow,” commented Ray McMahon, SYC Vice-Commodore and co-organiser of Bartercard Sail Paradise from the official start boat.

“That should push the boats up the coast and make it a fast race. The light stuff will generally favour the lighter boats, but the TP52, Frantic is leading the fleet and is likely to pull away once the southerly kicks in.”

Race Day Forecast - 2 January

TUE 02


No major change; rather soft today with early S winds shifting SE then E-NE this afternoon ahead of a S change with 10-20 kts then 20-25 kts and locally 23-27 kts that will catch the fleet tomorrow morning. Should be fairly sunny today but some showers and thunderstorms are likely later today – mostly north of the fleet. 

The S/20-25 will fill in quickly all the way up the NSW coast tomorrow morning – strongest breeze will be later tomorrow and tomorrow night with S/23-27 kts (average).

During Thursday, the wind will ease back and tend more left with generally SE/14-18 but persist with S-SSE/18-23 in the north but will slowly ease in the north overnight, tending back right to be S-SW/10-15 close to the shoreline.

Friday will have SE/14-18 in the north during the day and on Saturday SE-E/10-15 easing and shifting E-NE/5-10 at night.


FORECAST (stepping north with the fleet; wind is average, gusts will be stronger)

Forecast of the Pittwater to Paradise race - Monday 1 January


Trough of low pressure off the coast at the start generating rather soft S-SE winds along the coast.

Wind will shift thermally left during the day to SE-E then NE-N and remain rather soft.

Some afternoon/evening showers and thunderstorms – mostly inland from the coast.

A S change will move up the NSW coast during Wednesday and at the same time, low pressure may develop off the SE QLD coast – between these systems, S-SSE winds of 20-25 kts will fill in along the entire race course during the day.

Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with a few showers.

On Thursday, the low off the coast will move quickly away towards NZ and high pressure will develop close to the NSW S coast. 

Wind south of Smoky Cape will ease and shift SE-E but north of there, the wind will remain S-SSE/15-25.

On Friday, high pressure will shift east to be further off the NSW coast with a ridge back to the north coast. 

Wind will slowly ease over the north coast; remaining generally SE at 15-20 then 10-15 kts. 

Checkmate Launches Aussie Assault at Pittwater to Paradise Regatta

Owner, Ray Roberts and crew of the iconic US-built Peterson 50, Checkmate are looking forward to launching the vessel’s Australian racing career in the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta, which starts Tuesday 2 January. 

Inclement conditions during delivery to Sydney from the Gold Coast resulted in damage that put the yacht, renamed Checkmate of Hollywood, out of this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

As Michael Spies, seasoned sailor and long-time friend of owner Ray Roberts, explained: “We were pretty devastated not to make the Sydney Hobart, but with the adverse weather during delivery, we just weren’t prepared in time.”

Instead, they prepped and sailed Ray’s FARR 55, Hollywood Boulevard, which finished 10th, and are now flying back from Hobart in time for New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour, then a quick scoot to Pittwater for the Race start on Tuesday.

Checkmate is a sensational dual-purpose boat,” continued ‘Spiesy’. “She’s a proper yacht – nothing like the disposable boats we’ve been sailing for 30 or so years. We’ll watch the NYE fireworks on Sydney Harbour then get ready for the P2P.”

With her eye-catching gleaming timber hull, 50-foot Checkmate of Hollywood, with a sail number well-known to TV addicts of a certain age: 90210 (the Hollywood post code), is a 40-year-old IOR Doug Peterson design, built of Brazilian mahogany in San Diego by the illustrious Carl Eichenlaub, and updated in 2000 to make her a fast, competitive racing yacht.

In October 2017, Ray “Hollywood” Roberts bought the boat from the Orange County School of Sailing and Seamanship where she had given great service following her donation by the previous owner.

Roberts immediately sailed her to a win in her Class in the 53rd San Diego to Ensenada International Yacht Race.

Checkmatesailed from the US West Coast across the Pacific to Australia and cleared Customs at Southport Yacht Club at the end of November, before heading to The Boat Works on the Gold Coast for a thorough overhaul.



Pittwater to Southport


The Pittwater to Paradise Regatta will be starting on Sydney's Pittwater,  1 hour drive north from Sydney's CBD on January 2, 2019 and run through to 9 January, 2019.

The ocean race offers competitors a strategic challenge as they race between the surfline and the current, past unsurpassed scenic coastlines, prior to arriving in one of Queensland's most popular coastal cities. Once on the Gold Coast boats will enjoy a four day series regatta hosted by the Southport Yacht Club.

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