Race to Paradise

Black Jack favourite for inaugural race north to the Gold Coast

Wednesday January 6th 2010, Author: Rob Mundle, Location: United Kingdom
The inaugural Coffs to Paradise race - from Coffs Harbour to the Gold Coast - will start at 10am tomorrow with one of the most competitive yachts on Australia’s east coast, Peter Harburg’s 66-footer, Black Jack, expected to lead the charge north.

The Reichel/Pugh designed canting keel racer is an odds-on favourite for line honours in the 150 nautical mile coastal dash to the finishing line off Main Beach, near the entrance to the Gold Coast Broadwater.

The only yacht that holds any real chance of stealing Black Jack’s thunder, Bruce Absolon’s Volvo 60 Spirit of the Maid will not be suited to the light east/south-easterly winds that are forecast for the entire course, but should finish second across the line.

The Coffs to Paradise race is the second stage of the new high-summer east coast offshore circuit. It started with Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race on January 2 and will conclude with Sail Paradise, a five-day series starting next Sunday, January 10, and staged by Southport Yacht Club. Coffs Harbour Yacht Club has also supported the circuit.

There will be keen competition among all yachts in the Coffs to Paradise race as a good result will help them towards becoming the first ever champion of the entire circuit.
Southport Yacht Club’s Commodore, Neale Hollier, said the support for both the Coffs to Paradise and Sail Paradise events confirmed they have a future on Australia’s offshore sailing calendar.

"To have 12 good yachts lining up for this inaugural race out of Coffs Harbour, then a strong fleet for the Yalumba Wines Sail Paradise series next week, is extremely encouraging," Commodore Hollier said. "We are so enthusiastic about how this circuit is evolving we have already started planning for the 2011 series."

Southport Yacht Club is offering a $2000 prize in a draw that is open to all yachts contesting the Coffs to Paradise race. The club is also offering three cash prizes totalling $8000 in a similar draw for Sail Paradise competitors.

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