A fleet of 42 boats and more than 400 sailors setting off from the entrance to Broken Bay today at 1pm face a sluggish start to the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Yacht Race before sou’easters build. Based on the forecast the medium and smaller sized boats are primed for the handicap prizes.
Michael Logan, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster, delivered his final weather advice at this morning’s mandatory race and weather briefing at the organising club, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Race on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
A high pressure system south of the Bight is moving slowly east maintaining a weak ridge over the NSW coast and fine weather and a light sou’east breeze are likely for the start today off Barrenjoey Headland, strengthening to 10-15 knots during the afternoon.
Sunday, January 3, 2016, the fleet should be feeling the background easterly swell and getting ready for a wet day with showers north of the Hunter due to a weak coastal trough. Sou’east breezes in the 10-15 knot range may increase to 20 knots locally.
Monday is looking unsettled.
For the line honours challenger Beau Geste it will be a “kick and chase” race, and the fact the smaller boats are in a better position for handicap honours means they can afford to take some risks said skipper Karl Kwok this morning. A race record is no longer on the agenda for the 80-footer, instead they predict at 24hr trip putting them into Coffs early tomorrow afternoon.
A percentage of competitors are not long back from the Rolex Sydney Hobart and re-packed to head north today on different boats and the two Hobart withdrawals, M3, with Geelong based Sydney 38 owner Brenton Carnell skippering, and Mick Martin’s Frantic.
Darren Drew prayed for fresher winds to get his Crowther 50 Top Gun into high gear. Based on the latest outlook he’s expecting to have to chase down Shaun Carroll’s lighter Morticia over the 226 nautical mile distance. Three multihulls are among the final starting list of 42.
Coffs Harbour Marine Rescue has stocked up and a team is on standby to greet all crews with a freshly cooked hamburger and a cold drink, regardless of the finish time.
All boats competing in the race to Coffs Harbour and Solitary Islands race will carry a tracking device to allow 24hr monitoring.
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