Within hours of the Notice of Race going live, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s sailing office accepted its first Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta entry – John Bacon’s Class 40 Nexba Racing.
Until Cyclone Iris sent competitors to a safe place to wait out the worst conditions, Nexba Racing was tracking well in the double-handed Melbourne to Osaka fleet. Bacon and crewmate David Sampson made for the port of Gladstone on the advice of organisers but weren’t able to return to their position within the prescribed time, due to ongoing extreme weather. Two days later, on April 6, they made the difficult decision to withdraw, 11 days into the 5,500 nautical mile challenge.
Bacon was back at the RPAYC in Sydney this week when the Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta Notice of Race went live and he took the opportunity to put Nexba Racing forward as the first entry for the annual coastal race starting at 1pm on 2 January, 2019 just north of Barrenjoey Headland at the entrance to Broken Bay.
“The boat is a beautifully prepared offshore boat and we always had intentions of campaigning it at other races and regattas in Australia,” Bacon said. “We aren’t sure whether we’ll sail double-handed or crewed; either way we are fully committed to being part of the Club Marine event.”
For the 2019 edition of the annual Category 2 passage race the RPAYC has clarified some ambiguity around what they will accept as equivalent crew experience, which is a minimum 150 nautical miles of offshore yacht racing by at least 50% of the planned crew aboard the yacht entered.
Race director Nick Elliott explains: “In keeping with the club’s philosophy of supporting boat owners with ambitions of offshore racing and reducing the number of hurdles to qualify for major events we’ve established simpler pathways to gain the necessary experience in order to tackle our premier race to Southport.
“We offer a complete summer bluewater program of Cat 3 and 4 races which means owners and crew can train together to meet the experience requirement in order to step up to the Cat 2 race to Southport and then the really ambitious can in future work up towards the Cat 1 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.”
A second identified challenge for owners has led to the RPAYC working closely with the IRC office at the Royal Ocean Racing Club and national body Australian Sailing to understand what information is already available regarding stability data for standard boats.
“We identified a second challenge for owners, which is the belief they need to have their boat inclined in order to find out if they are eligible to enter a Cat 2 race,” Elliott added. “Owners will often find the stability curve and data is already in existence for most standard yacht designs, which enables them to understand quickly if they qualify from the construction side.
Southport Yacht Club and the RPAYC will work in tandem to host the third 370 nautical mile coastal race north then starting January 6 the short course Bartercard Sail Paradise Series off Southport on the picturesque Queensland Gold Coast, the second stage of the two-part pointscore regatta.
“SYC is hugely supportive of the Club Marine Pittwater to Southport race and will look after our competitors on arrival with the same warm hospitality,” RPAYC regatta chairman Richard Hudson said. “Crews can utilise the club’s fantastic facilities then enjoy some holiday time experiencing the region with their families before they re-mode for the popular Bartercard series.”