Friday, 7 January 2011

Another win for 'About Time' in South Solitary Island Race

The Cookson 12, 'About Time' with another emphatic victory in today's 19.2nm South Solitary Island race. Image copyright Damian Devine.

by Damian Devine

The CYCA's Julian Farren-Price's Cookson 12 ' About Time' clocked up another emphatic win in today's South Solitary Island Race, the final race of the series. Farren-Price, who has had an almost flawless series with three wins and a second, sailed another excellent race to lead the fleet home on handicap. He won today's South Solitary Island race with a close 20 second victory over Bob Steel's TP52 'Quest'.

With conditions the complete reverse to yesterday after a thunderstorm hit Coffs Harbour last night, it was a miserable start to the day. After a short delay due to relentless rain and no breeze, the Race Commitee delayed the start of the final day of racing in the 30th Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Offshore Series in Coffs Harbour.

At 1015hrs competitors were advised to make their way to the course area in the trying weather with the start boat on station flying the AP flag. The start boat, 'Matthew Flinders', had made their way out to the course area to examine conditions ahead of the fleet, an half hour earlier.

With the breeze building, the course was set dead square for a 19.2 nautical mile race around South Solitary Island finishing inside the Harbour. With the breeze settling into a 15 knot South Westerly and visibility extremely poor, Race Office Ted Anderson got the fleet of fifteen away at 1120hrs to a spectacular spinnaker start, screaming downwind before quickly disappearing into the mist.

At the pin end of the line, was 'The Real Thing' the ID35 skippered Garry Holder who hit the line with pace. Bob Steel's TP52 'Quest' continued her excellent series form with another good start whilst Julian Farren-Price's Cookson 12 ' About Time' and another small boat Rob Alder's J35 'Jayhawk' also worked hard to jump out of the gates well to get away with the front runners. At the boat end, Bruce Absolon's Volvo 60 'Nikon Spirit of the Maid' opted for a more conservative start but got away cleanly.

On the downwind run to the top mark, 'Quest' hit speeds of 20 knots before rounding the Island to starboard in poll position. It was hard work for the entire fleet as they beat their way into the breeze back to the Harbour for the finish. A heavy rain squall on the way back saw the breeze gust to 22 knots, this was followed by a shift to the South East and then back to the South West just prior to the finish. This final shift saw many boats get headed and having to tack as they had layed a reach to the finish line. However, the lift allowed them to narrow the overall gap to the leader, 'Quest' who had completed her race.

Taking line honours in Race Four of the series, it was no suprise to see another victory to Bob Steel and his TP52 'Quest' in an elapsed time of 1hr 48 mins 25 secs with 'Nikon Spirit of the Maid in second some eight minutes behind followed by the Hudson/Murphy/Lockley Farr 45 'Pretty Woman in third. 'Mr. Christian' the Swanson 36 skippered by Tony Purkiss came up the rear of the fleet to conclude his series in an elapsed time of 4hrs 4mins 56secs..

Richard Hudson, skipper of 'Pretty Woman' said,"It was a fun race, we managed to find South Solitary Island and not bump into it, through the mist. Visibility was extremely poor and I think we played the pied piper to the fleet. Every time we gybed they followed but we all managed to get around and home OK. We started in a true Sou' Wester and then it clocked to the South East before a big shift back to the South West as we neared Mutton Bird Island. We saw it coming fortunatley, it gave us a lift and benefited us into the finish. We will see what the results show."

On IRC handicap, it was 'About Time' winning in a corrected time of 2hrs 25mins 21secs ahead of 'Quest' with John Bacon's 'Hussy' in third, with these three boats all sharing the podium over the past two days of racing.

Farren-Price commented after the race, "We have had a couple of close battles on handicap with 'Quest', they did us by 23 seconds yesterday and we got them by 22 today, so we figure we've evened that up."

In the PHS Division, Russell Waddy's Beneteau 47.7 'Kioni' another from the CYC got his first bullet for the series with a corrected time of 2hrs 25mins 58secs beating 'The Real Thing' home by just over two minutes with Mr.Consistency John McConaghy and his 47 footer 'Second Time Around' in third, having not missed a spot on the podium all series.

Due to the delay to the start of the first race and the fact that a second race couldn't get started prior to 2pm, the Race Committee, in accordance with the Sailing Instructions, called it a day and therefore the series. The five race series became four and the series results will be calculated and announced at tonight's prizegiving at Coffs Harbour Yacht Club.

Race Officer Ted Anderson who officiated the starts for the series, said, "We had a mixed bag of weather, very strong and some very trying conditions including today's wet and foggy conditions. All in all, that's yacht racing and you have to deal with what the weather Gods deal up to you. Everyone's had a good time."

There were plenty of soggy yachtsman looking forward to a hot shower and some dry clothes after the race before getting ready for tonight's prize giving.

Pittwater to Coffs Race