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2 January 2004, 09:09 am
Nicorette Leads
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Strathfield Pittwater To Coffs Harbour Race

A buzz of helicopters on a picture postcard day, greeted the 68 boat fleet for the start of the 23rd Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.
Conditions were perfect off Barrenjoey and the fleet started in an 18 knot north easter.

Nicorette started two thirds of the way down the line from the official start boat, the warship HMAS Yarra.

Wild Oats was three boat lengths to weather of Nicorette and the two boats knocked towards Box Head, then Wild Oats tacked to port across the fleet.

Nicorette stayed on starboard tack and went deeper into Box Head. She then tacked back and was lifted, crossing Wild Oats. She's currently leading her rival as they head north.

Steven DAVID'S Swan 45 Joe, had a good start as did Richard HUDSON'S Corel 45, Pretty Woman and these two yachts were locked in a classic 'tack for tack' battle as they headed up the coast.

The start appeared clean, with the smaller boats all jostling for a good positions.

The thirteen boat Sydney 38 fleet vied for position, with Blue Sky winning the start, but as with the best one design racing, time will tell which boat has the tactics and wins the ultimate battle in IRC Division 2.

Watch out for the smaller 'new boat in town', Tony KIRBY'S Game Set, a Bavaria 38. Tony has assembled a very experienced crew for this race, including Dave DAVIES, Brad KELLET and Sam SABEY and they are hoping their first major outing meets with a podium placing.

According to Bureau of Meterology forecaster Brent GAGE, the current breeze will ensure the fleet experiences bouncy upwind conditions for at least the next six hours and tacticians will have their work cut out with light conditions inshore and strong prevailing sea currents
offshore.

One early retirement. Rob GARDNER'S The Poacher, Cav 350 was involved in Port Starboard incident and retired with minor damage. No injuries to the crew.
Al Constable
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