Members may be aware of the recent press release by the Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay announcing that they will run an offshore race to Coffs Harbour on 27 December 2017.
For many years Coffs Harbour has proved a difficult destination for the popular first ocean race of the year with strong competition from holiday makers making it operationally challenging to accommodate vessels at the marina and crews when they arrive in Coffs. The limited facilities and assistance that the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club is able to provide also meant that The RPAYC expended additional resources on managing arrivals and land arrangements in Coffs Harbour. The devastating storms of June 2016 left us with little choice but to move the race to a Southport finish in January 2017.
It is our belief that the condition of the marina at Coffs Harbour still remains in a sub-standard state and the support that the CHYC is able to offer remains a risk in sending a larger quality ocean racing fleet to Coffs again in 2017/18 and after healthy deliberation the decision was taken to run another successful Pittwater to Paradise event on 2 January but with the option to consider a return to a Coffs Race at an alternative time of the year.
On receiving the news that our colleagues at the RMYC were intending to run the race on 27 December, Commodore Ian Audsley and Vice Commodore Michael Lockley sought a meeting with their counterparts and on Monday met with RMYC Commodore Chris Lee and Vice Commodore David Rogers of RMYC to express their concerns that this decision is not in the best interests of the sport and would likely diminish the fleet size for both races. The RMYC decision was based on the desire to accommodate their smaller cruising boats for such a race, with requests for that timing coming from the CHYC and the preference of the sponsor to run the race at this time.
It is the RPAYC view that it is in the best interests of the sport and sailors that the clubs on Pittwater unite and work together on combined clubs racing rather than to compete. In an effort to foster this view, The RPAYC had initiated conversations with RMYC regarding combined clubs Women’s and Blue Water Sailing. Knowing that RMYC were in discussions with Coffs Harbour Yacht Club our Club had advised that we would support their event by including it in our Blue Water Series if it was held at a suitable alternative time of the year. Similar discussions had been taking place with CHYC.
RMYC/CHYC have made the decision to put their event in direct competition with our Pittwater to Paradise event on 2 January and it is disappointing that these clubs have not been able to work with us on a more cohesive strategy in this instance, particularly in light of the support (personnel and assets) that our Club has provided to RMYC and CHYC over many years.
I would like to assure all our members and competitors that The RPAYC and Southport Yacht Clubs are totally committed to running another successful Pittwater to Paradise Regatta of the highest standard in all respects of race management, safety and hospitality both in Newport and Southport and hope that Members will support the investment in the Pittwater to Paradise Regatta.
Ian Audsley Michael Lockley
Commodore Vice Commodore