Not all racing sailors beat south for Hobart. The smart ones head north to Coffs. Here's why...

With the support of yacht insurance company Pantaenius as the major sponsor, the Coffs race in its new format will be named the Pantaenius Newport to Coffs Coast Yacht Race. 

The Royal Motor Yacht Club (RMYC) in partnership with Coffs Harbour Yacht Club will host the race that will start in Pittwater on December 27, 2017, and finish at Coffs Harbour.

The Coffs Harbour Yacht Club is very excited that the tradition of the race will continue and looks forward to welcoming the fleet when they arrive around December 27-28. There are lots of activities planned to coincide with the arrival of the fleet and to help the crews and their land-based support crews celebrate the race and stay on to holiday and bring in the New Year.

This year will mark the 37th running of the Coffs Harbour race and it has some staunch supporters among the yacht-racing fraternity.

Steven Proud, the owner and skipper of Swish, a Kernan 44, is one such racing sailor looking forward to Coffs. He also hopes to repeat his great win in this year’s Hamilton Island IRC Passage Division 1

Proud sails out of Middle Harbour Yacht Club (MHYC) and has competed in the Coffs race many times. He launched his latest boat in 2012 and raced in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Coffs race. 

Steve says the 230 nautical mile Pantaenius Newport to Coffs Coast Race is just long enough to fit neatly between the Christmas and New Year holiday period. It’s a time when lots of crew have time off work and look to get out and enjoy an ocean race.

Depending on the speed of the boat and the wind direction the race can take from one to three days.  At this time of the year, the North Easters are prevalent, the days are longer and the night are shorter.  If the East Australian Current is running hot then the race becomes a tacking battle with boats trying to find the best-fit course zig zagging their way in and out between the headlands and then back again into the beaches to minimise the current and pick the best wind shifts.  

But Proud says he also loves sailing at night and with a relatively clear course he enjoys concentrating on getting the most out of the boat while ticking of the lights of the headlands as the boat tracks steadily north.

If it is a southerly then it is a fast race with all sails up in a sweep for the line. In 2015 a southerly wind swept them up the coast with only one gybe required just off Coffs Harbour. And if the weather turns nasty then chances are it is all behind you and you are running with it. Coffs is far enough away to get a great sail but just in time to fill up on some great local seafood and enjoy the hospitality of the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club. 

This year the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce is going all out to welcome the return of the fleet. There will be many activities to greet the sailors as well as many other activities associated with the festival of sail along the Coffs Coast during the Xmas New Year. The Coffs Coast is well known as a great holiday destination.  Many family and friends book holiday accommodation around the arrival of the fleet and then stay on for the spectacular New Years fireworks.

CLICK HERE to Register for the 2017 Pantaenius Newport to Coffs Coast Yacht Race.