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Ragamuffin take line honours in 33rd Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race - Ragamuffin celebrate their line honours victory dockside with the coveted Line Honour Bell Trophy
Syd Fischer's TP52 Ragamuffin skippered by his grandson Brenton took line honours in the monohull division of the 33rd Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs race crossing the finish in a time of 23hrs 37mins 20secs, blitzing the rest of the monohull fleet by 70 miles.

Syd, last year’s triple crown handicap winner and line honours runner up handed the reins over to his grandson for his first ocean race who managed to go one better in this year’s race. He was in very good hands alongside a very competent crew led by boat master David Witt.

Other than finding a small parking lot this morning just past Nambucca for an hour or so both Fischer and Witt reported a reasonably fast track with the wind getting up over 30knots at time during the 226 nautical mile race.

Brenton getting the perfect start to ocean racing, winning his first on debut as skipper said, “It’s a great feeling, really happy. It was an interesting race, we got a hell a lot of breeze a couple of times last night where we had the boat going upwards of 20 knots. So all in all it was a great experience and I think the crew did a great job and sailed the boat as best we could particularly in those reaching conditions and to be honest we blitzed the competition.”

The best of the journey for the young Fischer was “steering the boat downwind at 25knots into some pretty big swell, that was exciting. “

Boat master David Witt speaking dockside commented on the conditions for the race, “it was very unpredictable because the weather file was miles out. I’ve done a lot of these races now and I’ve never seen the weather so badly predicted ever but luckily it was from behind and not on the nose.

“We saw 33 knots out of the west for probably four or five hours last night so we managed to peel a stronger chute and looked back and everyone in the fleet was bear headed in a bit of strife so I think that’s where we managed to get the big jump on the fleet and from there the rich got richer and the air got lighter and lighter. We managed to stay in the breeze and that’s why we’ve ended up beating them by 70 miles.

“We had one little park there this morning for about an hour and we knew with that little westerly system you had to stay on it cause once you fell off it you were gone. So we managed to stay on it until Nambucca and that’s the difference.

“It’s good to win on line honours and we’re sitting pretty at this stage on handicap with the wind dying out down the coast and for Brenton that’s great in his first race so that’s one from one, not a bad effort. I really like this race and I’ve won it a few times so am pleased for Syd, Brenton and the crew to win this year,” said Witt.

When asked about the two father son combinations on board, Jonte Witt and Harkon Britt, he said, “The boys did great, they went really well and got into it, neither of them got crook so we might have a couple more staff members, at a cheap rate,” quipped Witt.

The boys said of their first ocean race,“ it was a really good experience, we had wind all the way, we didn’t break anything, it was a good run up and did it under 24 hours so pretty excited, everyone is happy,” said Harkon Britt. “It was a lot harder than I thought, pretty tiring! It went in our favour and it was a good experience,” added Jonte Witt.

Fischer still leads on handicap in IRC, ORCi and PHS so a repeat of the 2013 triple crown could still be on the cards. The breeze hasn’t been kind the remainder of the fleet further down the coast today with some reporting glass outs and 1-2 knots. A strong NNE breeze is forecast into the evening meaning a beat to windward and a bumpy pride tonight before a southerly change tomorrow, as they inch their way to the finish.

Ragamuffin leads IRC from Much Ado V and Patrice Six, in ORCi from OCL2 and Kerisma whilst in PHS its Ragamuffin ahead of Out of Sight and Koko in third.

The next boats to finish will be the multihull Voodoo Spirit, the TP52 Dodo, followed by the Farr45 Pretty Woman, the DK46 Exile and the Ker43 OCL2 all bunched and expected in the early hours of tomorrow.

To date, there have been three retirees with Steven Proud’s Swish yesterday with rudder damage and two this afternoon due to lack of breeze in Bruce McKay’s two-handed Wasabi and Drew Carruther’s multi Rushhour.

Morticia, the Seacart 30 foot trimaran skippered by Shaun Carroll also deserve applause for a fantastic effort to not only finish 2nd over the line today in sailing a great race, but in just getting to the start line where they spent an incredible amount of time, money and effort to meet full compliance standards. In doing so, they have also helped multihulls to be accepted as a viable type for ocean racing in the future. They reported hitting 20 knots at times and seeing 30-35 knot gusts out of the west last night. “We went offshore last breeze and found some good breeze, so we got lucky and had a really good ride,” said skipper Shawn Carroll. They lead the multihull division on handicap.

Photo : Damian Devine
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