Whisper leads a slow Pittwater to Coffs race

David Griffith’s Whisper is today leading a drawn-out 2024 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race, using the current to slip away from the rest on the 226 nautical mile course, as conditions refuse to play ball.

However, it is by no means the slowest race on record. That honour goes to Short Circuit, the 1982 the line honours victor, who took 62h, 33m, 57s to complete the course.

At 11.00am Saturday, 22 hours into the race, the majority of the fleet was parked up close to the coast at Seal Rocks on the NSW coast. The light air faded to almost nothing on the course with parking lots aplenty – nobody missed out.

Whisper, a JV62, was the line honours favourite going into the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s 226 nautical mile race. She had broken free of the pack and was gliding along at an average of 5.5 knots with an ETA in Coffs Harbour of 5am Sunday.

Doug McGain at the helm, Michael Coxon wearing nav and tactical gear on Whisper - pic courtesy Whisper
Tempo is leading the bulk of the fleet - pic courtesy Tempo
Night time relfections on Whisper - pic courtesy Whisper

Behind Whisper by 28 nautical miles, Tempo, Michael Smith’s Kernan 44, was leader of the pack at Seal Rocks.

A short time later, Craig Douglas retired Popeye from the race, citing time constraints. Travelling at just 1 knot behind Seal Rocks and most of those on board having work commitments, Douglas had no other option. A shame, as Popeye, a Beneteau First 47.7, placed third overall last year.

Paul O’Rourke’s Mako was next to go from this tactically challenging race, choosing to head home to Newcastle, as they were close by. Ascalon (Ian Quarrie) and Minerva (Edward Cox) followed suit. A short time later, Cooloola (Alan Hill) and Antipodes (Geoff Hill) called time too.
Before midday, Griffith reported from the race: “It’s been so slow, but always with a 0.7 to 1 knot of current pushing us north. Now we’ve hit the adverse current – 1.2 knots south! We have a Code Zero up and we’ve just put up an A1,” he said describing their light weather sail.

“We’ve had lots of park-ups and it was tough getting through the first five miles,” Griffith ended.

At 2pm, Whisper had 91 miles to make the finish. Behind her, Tempo was still leading the bulk, but still had 126 miles to sail to the Coffs Harbour finish line. Communications with crews  report many are looking forward to seeing some local dolphins. 

The “endurance” race continues!

Follow the fleet on the race tracker at: https://yb.tl/pittwater2024

For all information go to: www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au

Di Pearson/RPAYC media




Further information:
Di Pearson
Nautical Promotions
Email: nautical3@bigpond.com