2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta Hailed "Friendliest Race"

The diverse fleet in this year’s Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta has hailed the event “a brilliant way to start the year” and a great reason to travel north for summer on the Gold Coast, sight seeing and some competitive sailing.

Michael Martin’s TP 52, Frantic arrived first at Southport Yacht Club on Thursday 4 January at 07:24 AEDT, taking line honours after 418 nautical miles, compared to nearest rival Nine Dragons which sailed 398 nautical miles. They had the Club to themselves for a few hours and after a shower and well earned beverage, they toasted their win over a hearty breakfast and declared the P2P “THE best race we’ve ever sailed!” 

Ahead of starting the P2P, Frantic made the return from Hobart, where they came 11th in their Division and 24th over the line.

The P2P was their first win of 2018 and something the whole crew are very proud of.

“It’s a new race and is gradually making a name for itself – it’s a great destination,” said Mick of the P2P, hinting that they would be keen to enter again in 2019.

Overall winner, Ray Roberts’ Checkmate of Hollywood, came in fifth place and was unanimously admired for her looks and her performance.

The legendary 40 year old, 50-foot, IOR Doug Peterson design Checkmate of Hollywood was competing in her first Australian race and after missing the Sydney Hobart due to damage on the delivery to the start line, all eyes were on this classic yacht and she did not disappoint.

“It was our first Australian race, after the disappointment of missing the Hobart,” said Michael Spies. “We backed ourselves. The competition wasn’t soft. Nine Dragons is an Australian champion. It wasn’t ideal conditions for our boat, but the boat lived up to our expectations – more than! 

“Having run grand prix boats for 30 years, with a world champion crew, a mix of youth and experience, Checkmate was vastly different. It’s a 40 year-old timber boat, not carbon fibre. She’s a lot harder to steer, but more forgiving in motion, not as hard on the body. It was nice to have a hot meal and good sleep. We actually had an oven! It just proves the IRC rule is doing its job.

“Full credit to Ray Roberts and his enthusiasm for Checkmate and supporting this event,” continued Spiesy. “He had a vision and supported getting this boat back to Australia. For the crew, it was different, we worked hard without breaking the boat, learning about it on the way.”

Second over the line and winner of IRC Division 1, Dk46 Nine Dragons, followed Frantic a few hours later at 11.28 AEDT, but enjoyed a close battle with the TP52 in the early stages of the race.

Nine Dragons’ owner, Bob Cox said his crew enjoyed “a relatively easy race, with only a few challenges when the number 4 spinnaker exploded, but the crew did a great job”.

He was impressed with the fleet and the event, saying that despite the relatively small numbers, “competition was intense and you can’t beat ending up on the Gold Coast”.

“It’s an enjoyable and worthwhile race,” Bob continued. “We would seriously consider coming back next year.”

Pretty Woman, the Farr 45 co-owned by RPAYC Commodore, Michael Lockley, Richard Hudson and Russell Murphy, shadowed Nine Dragons the whole way to the Gold Coast, where Pretty Woman missed “slaying the Dragon by just 4 minutes.”

The appeal of the P2P, according to Michael is the mixed bag of conditions that summer sailing delivers. “We sailed upwind, downwind, and used every sail. We enjoyed the full spectrum of sailing. We used three different spinnakers, as well as J1, JT and J2.”

Forecast - Friday 5 January

FRI 05


High pressure Tasman Sea next 3 days with increasing N winds along the NSW coast

The next S change will reach Sydney Sunday afternoon – and expected to weaken and fade near Newcastle overnight

NE winds then back Monday ahead of a stronger S change expected on Tuesday.

That S change will push further north, but expected to slow and stall somewhere not far north of Seal Rocks.

Then SE going NE for the following days until an even stronger S change expected to move north on the NSW coast on SAT 13.

Frantic Digs Deep, Takes Line Honours

Michael Martin’s TP 52, Frantic enjoyed sensational sailing up the NSW north coast to arrive at Southport Yacht Club under the light of a full moon and rising sun at 07:24 AEDT, taking line honours in the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta, Thursday 4 January.

After 418 nautical miles, compared to nearest rival Nine Dragons which sailed 398 nautical miles, Mick and the Frantic crew enjoyed a boaties’ breakfast at SYC, reflecting on the race, and declaring it “THE best race we’ve ever sailed!”

“We couldn’t have sailed better,” said the affable owner and skipper. “We had a crew of 12, long-term crew and a few new guys. It was a good race. Our fastest speed was 29.8 knots, but we were a constant 20 to 24. There was a period of calm for about 6 hours around Seal Rocks, and everybody caught up to us, but we eventually took off and did well to make it here in time for breakfast.”

FRANTIC crossing the finish line in SouthportFRANTIC crossing the finish line in Southport

Simon Hunter, Frantic boat manager and professional sailor, prepared the boat after the Sydney-Hobart, and admitted the toughest part of the race, since Boxing Day, was managing crew fatigue.

“It was all about making sure everybody was ready and fresh for their watch,” he said. “I think if we hadn’t been becalmed there for a while we could have smashed the race record and adding a World Record to our win.”

Frantic made the return from Hobart, where they came 11th in their Division and 24th over the line, just in time for the race start in the P2P.

“We did one of our quickest Hobarts,” continued Mick. “Two days and 1 hour. We got smashed around Flinders Island in 51 knot winds, and hit a sailfish, so we had a few repairs. We watched the New Year’s Eve fireworks on the NSW coastal towns as we headed back to Sydney. That was nice.

“But it was truly special to come into Southport with the full moon.”

Credit: RPAYC Media - FRANTIC racing up the coast to the finish lineCredit: RPAYC Media - FRANTIC racing up the coast to the finish line

Eye on the Prize

Michael Martin’s TP 52, Frantic is storming up the NSW coast, leaving the rest of the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise fleet in its wake and consistent southerlies are likely to push her to the finish line well ahead of the pack, with estimates putting her arrival at between 6am and 7am QLD time, Thursday 4 January.

It will be no race record, Frantic trailing the position of race record holder, the Rogers 46 Shakti, owned by Doug Coulter, by around 69 nm.

In a tussle for second position are Nine Dragons, Bob Cox’s Dk 46, and Pretty Woman, the Farr 45 co-owned by RPAYC Commodore, Michael Lockley, Richard Hudson and Russell Murphy.

Speaking from onboard Nine Dragons, roughly 3 nm out to see off Hat Head, Edward Hawthorne said the south-easterly was providing “exhilarating sailing”.

“We saw a few storms, but it wasn’t too wild. We caught a 25 knot breeze which was helpful, but we blew up a spinnaker, which was a bit of a shock. We’re a bit slower than we’d like, but once it eases off, we’ll try a different spinnaker. Right now, we’re focused on chasing Frantic.”

Biting at their heels, or rather “riding the tail of the Dragon” as Michael Lockley put it, was Pretty Woman.

“We got plenty of breeze, around 31 knots, which is good for us. We’re sailing at about 20 knots boat speed and quite happy. We missed the storms, but we saw them.”

Mick Martin, owner of Frantic, “is definitely pot hunting” said Michael, referring to Frantic’s dizzying schedule of sailing since the Boxing Day start of the Sydney Hobart.

Forecast - Thursday 4 January

THU 04


High pressure forms off the NSW south and central coast today – the high has a strong ridge north up the NSW coast and that is generating solid S breeze on the northern half of the coast, particularly north from around Smoky Cape. 

The stronger S then SE winds will contract further north this afternoon as the high pressure moves NE to be generally over the west Tasman Sea. 

Tomorrow will see E-NE wind develop on the coast south of Smoky Cape with generally lighter SE winds north of there.

The breeze will shift E-NE on the far north coast and SE QLD by later SAT 06.

The next S change looks to reach Sydney later SUN 07 but weaken and fade on the coast between Sydney and Newcastle. 

A stronger S-SE change is likely to move up the NSW coast during TUE 09 stalling and fading somewhere around Smoky Cape.

Day 2 - Forecast - Southerly to bring the Fleet to QLD



S change now through the fleet and S to SE wind will continue until the end of the race for all boats.

Most consistent S wind looks to be THU morning.

There has been an isolated shower or 2 with the S front – most showers and storms were late yesterday with the pre-frontal trough and most ahead of the fleet.

High pressure will build off the NSW S coast tonight and tomorrow, and the S winds will contract north along the NSW coast – easing and shifting SE-NE on the central coast.

The wind will moderate on the NSW north coast later THU and FRI and turn SE-NE later SAT 06.

Off and RACING!

Yachts in the 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta took off in superb Sydney summer conditions with a good nor-easterly breeze, at 13.00 AEDT, and a relatively clean start off the line, according to race officials.

The official weather briefing at 9am at RPAYC forecast strong southerly winds late Tuesday night into Wednesday which should make for a quicker race to the Gold Coast. Meantime, denizens of the Gold Coast are battening down for severe thunderstorms between 16.00 until the middle of the night.

“It looks like being around 25 knots later tonight dropping off to 15 knots tomorrow,” commented Ray McMahon, SYC Vice-Commodore and co-organiser of Bartercard Sail Paradise from the official start boat.

“That should push the boats up the coast and make it a fast race. The light stuff will generally favour the lighter boats, but the TP52, Frantic is leading the fleet and is likely to pull away once the southerly kicks in.”



Pittwater to Southport


The Pittwater to Paradise Regatta will be starting on Sydney's Pittwater,  1 hour drive north from Sydney's CBD on January 2, 2019 and run through to 9 January, 2019.

The ocean race offers competitors a strategic challenge as they race between the surfline and the current, past unsurpassed scenic coastlines, prior to arriving in one of Queensland's most popular coastal cities. Once on the Gold Coast boats will enjoy a four day series regatta hosted by the Southport Yacht Club.

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