Major yacht race to finish on the Gold Coast in 2017

One of the major annual ocean yacht races on Australia’s east coast, the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race, has been rescheduled to finish on the Gold Coast next January.

The race organisers at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, in Sydney, have announced the change after officials at Southport Yacht Club, at Main Beach, agreed to host the finish of the 370 nautical mile event, which will start on January 2.

It is anticipated that the race will bring well over one thousand sailors, their families and friends to the Gold Coast.


Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club contacted Southport Yacht Club to discuss the club hosting the finish after it became apparent that damage caused to Coffs Harbour marina when a severe east coast low hit the region earlier this month might not be repaired in time for the finish of their long-standing event in January.

Coffs Harbour’s marina and marina office and other local businesses suffered infrastructure damage when giant waves crashed over the northern breakwall during the peak of the June storm. At the time ABC Coffs Coast reported the force of the waves broke finger-wharves from their moorings and destroyed part of the timber boardwalk that provide access to yachts berthed at the marina.

Given the damage and the risk it won’t be repaired in time for the fleet’s arrival in early January, the RPAYC board of directors has confirmed the 2017 New Year race will be renamed the Club Marine Pittwater to Southport Yacht Race and finish off Main Beach.

The event will start from the traditional start line just north of Palm Beach Headland, at the entrance to Pittwater, at 1pm on January 2, 2017. The new course to Southport will add an extra 145nm to the usual course length.

Commodore of RPAYC, Ian Audsley, said, “We enjoy a partnership with Coffs Harbour Yacht Club and community spanning 35 years and we reached out to them immediately after the worst of the storm to express our heartfelt concern. We recognise their disappointment with the board’s decision, particularly after steps taken to initiate remediation of the marina, however we need to assure boat owners well in advance there are suitable facilities at the finish to accommodate them”.

“Southport has welcomed the opportunity to host the finish in January 2017 and I’m sure it will be an outstanding success,” the Commodore added.

Southport Yacht Club, which hosts the finish of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual mid-winter Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, has embraced the idea of finishing the 2017 race as they too had recently made the difficult decision to cancel their Coffs Harbour to Paradise.

Southport Yacht Club Commodore, Phil Short said, said that while the club empathizes with the Coffs Harbor Yacht Club and the local marina operators, he was pleased that Southport Yacht Club could fill the breach.
“Our club is renowned for its hospitality and excellent marina facilities,” Commodore Short said, “so we are looking forward to hosting the participants and race supporters in January.”

The Club Marine Pittwater to Southport Yacht Race dovetails into SYC’s Bartercard Sail Paradise series. Instead of the RPAYC conducting a program of short races once the fleet arrives, as they do for the annual Pittwater to Coffs Race race, the Southport fleet can simply roll straight into the SYC’s existing Bartercard Sail Paradise Regatta starting Wednesday January 11.