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30 December 2004, 10:26 am
Race Record Could Go
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2005 Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race
Pittwater

After four days of strong southerly winds and heavy seas battering the 60th Rolex Sydney to Hobart fleet, there could be more strong winds for the 24th Strathfield Pittwater Coffs Race, which starts on Sunday 2 January at 2.00pm.
Another complex coastal weather system is expected to deliver 15-20 knot southerlies for the race start off Barrenjoey Headland. However as this race runs north, the fleet will enjoy booming down wind sailing and with the best fleet in the history of the race, the 2003 race record could easily fall.

While Hobart winner Nicorette has dropped out of the starting fleet, the newest Wild Oats is in red-hot form, having beaten Skandia in the Canon Big Boat series.

Recognising some months ago that high tech racers like Wild Oats could easily reach Coffs Harbour in the pre-dawn hours, race organisers have lengthened the course slightly and moved the start time back from 1pm to 2pm.

Bob OATLEY's old Wild Oats, now named Targé, set a sizzling time in her 2003 race. It was a race record of 18 hour 29 minutes and 14 seconds and this year his new Wild Oats and Steven DAVID's Targé will be aiming to better that record.

If conditions are strong enough, and the long-range weather forecast is pointing that way, the July 2004 launched Wild Oats could still complete the newly extended course in 16-18 hours, arriving in Coffs as early as 6am to 8am on Monday morning.

Targé, with the highly experienced Pittwater crew lead by master helmsman Iain MURRAY, should be close behind. So should Vanguard, considered to be one of the faster fixed keel 60 footers on the planet and Craig ELLIS' downwind flier Future Shock, will certainly be giving the other boats a run for their money.

Rob Kothe (As Amended by ISAF)
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