Current leader of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s prestigious Blue Water Pointscore, Syd Fischer, owner of Ragamuffin, was the first to submit an entry for the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race, which starts at 1200 on Friday 19 March.
The 213 nautical mile category 2 event is the last race in the CYCA’s seven race Blue Water Pointscore (BWPS). With one point separating Ragamuffin (15 points) and Bob Steel’s Quest (16 points) for first and second place, Fischer needs to sail a near-faultless race, finishing ahead of Quest, to win his tenth Blue Water Pointscore.
One of the early line honours favourites and defending race record holder Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki, holds fifth place in the Blue Water Pointscore. Only four points separate the top five, which all represent the CYCA.
This last race will be an exciting encounter, as the current top five battle it out to win the prestigious event.
Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas know only too well how hard it is to win the BWPS. The duo won the title in 2006/07 with their modified Farr 40 AFR Midnight Rambler finishing third in the last race to win the title by two points. AFR Midnight Rambler currently sits in third place on 17 points, two behind Ragamuffin. Next best placed is Geoff Ross’ RP55 Yendys in fourth place on 18 points.
Another early entrant for the race is Steven Proud with his Sydney 38 Swish, fresh from his successful fourth overall, divisional second and Sydney 38 OD win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
Both Swish and Ragamuffin have applied to enter in the IRC division as well as ORCi. Swish finished second under the new ORCi rating category; while Ragamuffin finished 9th. Colin Woods’ Pretty Fly III, a Cookson 50, will also race under both rating systems.
Should five of more yachts enter the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race with valid ORCi rating certificates, the CYCA will offer an ORCi division as well as IRC and PHS. The overall winner of the race will be declared using IRC.
For Steven Proud, his crew’s request to ‘do the Hobart’ was the beginning of a season campaign. “We decided as a crew that if we were going to sail the Rolex Sydney Hobart, then we had to be prepared; so we entered the Blue Water Pointscore to gain valuable offshore racing experience,” he said. “We performed well in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart, so we are aiming for a strong finish to the season with this race.
“The Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race is a great race – it’s distance is long enough to stretch the boat’s capabilities, and the finish is nice and close to home. In last year’s race we finished first in IRC Division 3, which was much better than the 2008 race where we were forced to retire due to damage just off Norah Head.”
Swish is currently tied with Anthony Paterson’s Tow Truck for second place in the Tasman Pointscore Series (PHS Division of Blue Water Series) and Proud was looking forward to competing against the team from Tow Truck in this race.
However, Paterson, who was also running sixth in the BWPS, has recently sold his Kerr 11.3 Tow Truck to new owners, who are based at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, who have renamed the boat Dump Truck.
“The boat went on the market shortly after the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The new owners took a good look at the boat when she was in Constitution Dock and made a very generous offer,” Paterson said.
“We are sad not to have finished the Blue Water Pointscore Series with the boat, but I am very happy with what we’ve been able to achieve over the last two seasons,” said Paterson, who was quick to keep the band of loyal Tow Truck followers poised as he quipped, “So stayed tuned for the next adventures of Tow Truck.”
The Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race will start at 12 noon on Friday 19 March from Sydney Harbour and take the fleet to a laid mark around 20 nautical miles east of Crowdy Head before the yachts head for Newcastle and the finish in the Hunter River.
Entries close at 1700hrs, Friday 5 March 2010 and it is anticipated that a fleet of 30 yachts will take part in the third edition of the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race.