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Pittwater to Coffs Race - Ragamuffin and Wedgetail battle it out    
Wed, 2 Jan 2013

Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Race - Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin leads Bill Wild’s RP55 Wedgetail by a nautical mile having covered 75 of the 226 mile race as at the first sked reported at 1800hrs this evening. Sailing in better pressure than expected, the fleet has now spread over a 35 mile window from Port Stephens to just north of Norah Head.

Steven Proud’s Kernan 44 Swish was 10 miles behind the leaders in third with the host clubs Bruce Hogan’s Perpetual Mocean with a bunch of RPAYC youth development on board was hot on their heels with the Kaiko 52 Merlin skippered by David Forbes . The lead boats were travelling at 14 knots in a 15-20 knot South Easter with the bulk of the fleet was currently off Newcastle sticking close to the rhumb line.

Based on current conditions the race record is still under threat but it depends what happens to the breeze through the night which was forecast to soften in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Tom Spithill, tactician aboard Perpetual Mocean commented, 'We are in 15-20 knots of breeze doing 10 to 12 knots at 140 direction and going along nicely behind Swish and alongside Merlin. The plan is to keep our heads down and sail as fast as we can and try and stay with this pressure.'

The Grant Dawson/Brent Lawson Kerr 11.3m Kerisma was the first retirement just off Newcastle due to a broken bow sprit around 5:30pm, four hours into the race. They are currently on their way into Newcastle Harbour.

The lead for IRC sees Ragamuffin lead from Wedgetail with Merlin in third. Swish, Lake Macquarie yacht clubs Peter Hewson and his Sydney 41 Storage King Wallop and Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons two DK46s from the MHYC were next.

In PHS, it's a similar story with Ragamuffin leading Wedgetail with Storage King Wallop in third with a third of the race now complete for the leaders.

But there’s still a long way to go and as the sun sets on the first night it’s going to be a long, bumpy night for the crews and boats in the 32nd Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race.

Follow all the action on the tracker on the event website

by Damian Devine

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