Titans of sailing among early entries for Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race
Main photo: Ichi Ban on the way on to winning the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart. Photo Andrea Francolini / Rolex
Two of Australia’s highest profile yachts, Christian Beck’s 100ft LawConnect, and Matt Allen’s TP52 Ichi Ban, are early entries in the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s (RPAYC) 2022 Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race to start off Barrenjoey Headland at 1pm on 8 April.
In late December, Ichi Ban became just the third yacht to win the Sydney Hobart three times in the history of the race. On the weekend, Allen added a fourth consecutive Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race win to his extensive tally. Ichi Ban is, without doubt, the boat to beat in offshore racing.
“I’ve never done the Pittwater Coffs before. It has a good history,” Allen said. “We’re keen to do it and to support it. Changing the start date (away from early January) has helped us to do that.
“Positioned in April, it also gives us the ability to head further north after to do the Brisbane Gladstone race,” Allen ended.
On the flip side of the coin is Christian Beck’s LawConnect. She placed second over the line in the 2021 Sydney Hobart and Beck is keen to test his boat on the shorter course with the possibility of claiming a new race record. The current record stands at 18 hours 29 minutes and 14 seconds, set by Wild Oats IX in 2003. It is one of the most enduring sailing records in Australian history.
“I really want to go do the race,” Beck stated. “We entered last year but it was cancelled. I haven’t done the race before, so I’m very much looking forward to it.”
On board will be Beck’s son Indy, who turns 15 in March. Beck junior is on the cusp of a promising sailing career, having put his yachting skills to the test on Dad’s MC38, InfoTrack.
Indy sailed as crew on InfoTrack when it made its MC38 one-design regatta debut in October 2020. Last May he skippered it to victory against a classy field in Act 2 of an MC38 event. In between, the school boy has honed his skills and is becoming an impressive skipper and tactician.
“He’s a better sailor than me,” Beck admitted recently of his teenage son.
Queensland is also represented in the 36th running of the ‘Pittwater-Coffs’. Geoff Dews has entered his Jeanneau Sun Fast 3200, Hell’s Bells. His son, Lincoln, who retired from the inaugural Two-handed division in the 2021 Sydney Hobart, will be aboard. The boat is already in Pittwater, waiting and will be sailed fully crewed this time.
“We are absolutely looking forward to doing the race. I did the very first one, but haven’t done another since,” Dews commented.
“It’s a complex race. It’s a straight line race, but there are so many passing lanes. It also finishes in such a nice place, which is an attraction for us,” Dews concluded. The ‘us’ refers a crew comprising mainly Queenslanders and Coffs Harbour locals.
Local representation will come from stalwarts of the RPAYC and offshore racing. Richard Hudson has entered Pretty Woman. His Farr 45 has graced the start lines of a multitude of events, his most recent the Sydney Hobart and the RPAYC’s Pittwater Regatta in mid-February. A key element of his crew, part and parcel of all his programs, are youths from the RPAYC Youth Development program.
Ian Edwards has entered Wings. The Dehler 46 has cruised the Pacific, contested the RPAYC Pittwater to Paradise race, along with the Sydney Noumea and Groupama races. She has also pointed north to Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island and Magnetic Island race weeks in Queensland. The comfortable cruiser/racer is a deceptive description, as the boat performs well across the board.
The Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race is open to monohulls and multihulls in IRC, ORC, PHS, OMR and Short-Handed categories,. It is a popular coastal event for many reasons, including the pretty seaside destination, the 226 nautical mile course and the fact it is a Category 3 race, making it simple and cost effective to enter.
- Thursday 7 April: Fever-Tree Crew Party and Race Briefing
- Friday 8 April: Race start 1300hrs
- Saturday 12 February: Race continues
- Sunday 13 February: Presentation, Coffs Harbour Yacht Club
Entries for the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race close on 25 March at 5pm, with late entries incurring a late entry fee.
For all information including entry, please visit the official website: www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au
By Di Pearson