By Di Pearson, RPAYC Media
A new superyacht, a super maxi, a benchmark TP52 and a multihull that will be difficult to beat, along with their equally high-profile owners, are among the classy field taking part in the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s (RPAYC) Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race to start Friday 26 March off Barrenjoey Headland at Pittwater.
[CYCA Member] Marcus Blackmore’s new superyacht Ammonite, [CYCA Life Member] Matt Allen’s all-conquering Ichi Ban, Christian Beck’s super maxi InfoTrack and Dale Mitchell’s multihull Rex are among those lining up for the 36th edition of the race.
All eyes will be on Blackmore’s new Southern Wind 96 luxury yacht when it makes its offshore racing debut in the 226-nautical-mile race. A longstanding member of the RPAYC, the vitamin king’s carbon fibre yacht with a lifting keel and twin rudders is an unknown quantity.
“This is our first offshore race – and probably our only one in Australia. I shipped it here because COVID changed everything I was going to do overseas,” Blackmore said.
On the competition: “There’s no way we’ll beat InfoTrack. It’s a stripped-out racing boat, mine is a much heavier cruiser/racer. This is a good opportunity to use it though, and we’ve been doing a bit of training.”
Poles apart from the rest of the fleet, Blackmore explained: “We have two generators, Australian artwork, five TV’s – one a big screen, a coffee machine, cocktail bar and cocktail maker, sparkling water on tap, five-burner stove and air-conditioning. There are two crew cabins for four, a master cabin for me and two guest cabins that take two or three people each – and five bathrooms. It’s a beautiful yacht.”
The Pittwater-based yacht club moved the start date from 2 January to 26 March, meaning it no longer overlaps with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, paving the way for the likes of 2017 and 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart winning TP52 Ichi Ban, and InfoTrack which as Perpetual Loyal broke the race record and took line honours in the 2016 Hobart, to take part. It allows competitors an opportunity to race at Sail Port Stephens and contest the Brisbane to Gladstone Race afterwards
Ichi Ban will start as favourite for overall IRC honours, while software visionary, Beck, will be chasing the race record of 18 hours 29 minutes and 14 seconds, set by Wild Oats IX in 2003, one of the longest standing sailing records in Australian history.
Forty-two boats will start the race off Barrenjoey Headland 1300hrs Friday 26 March. The fleet is represented by NSW and Queensland across IRC, ORCi, PHS, Two-Handed and OMR (multihull) divisions.
The start will be streamed live on the RPAYC Facebook page for those wishing to follow the race; and each yacht’s position will be updated throughout.