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104 Boats Line up for start, two red boats leading

by Georgie Brown on 2 Jan 2001
It was a picture perfect start for the start of the Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race as Olympic shooter Michael
Diamond fired the cannon to send 104 boats on the 226nm race north.

Eight boats had retired from the original record-breaking line-up. These included six Farr 40's. The Farr 40's had entered the
race as part of their class Admiral's Cup team selection in that class. Unable to beat the brothers Simon and Neill Whiston in
Smile and Fruit Machine, the Farr's are preparing for an international meet in Florida.

As Xena positioned herself at the bottom of the start line (north) from Barrenjoey to Lion Island, tragedy was unfolding for the
crew of Stormrider an 11.4m Sayer designed yacht. She was 'T-boned' by another yacht and a protest is pending. Stormrider
has a large hole on her port side and will not continue.

Two more boats were to retire within the hour. They are Gonenumbyet, a Sayer 11.9 and Rising Farrster, an 11.9 Farr (details
yet to come)

Meanwhile last year's line honours winner, the 19.7meter Infinity III exonerated herself from an as yet unidentified incident with
a 720 degree turn.

The start of the race saw a stiff 20-25kn nor-easter on a rising sea.

First over the line was the Farr 40 OD, Smile, sailed by Simon Whiston, narrowly ahead of Fruit Machine sailed by Whiston's
brother Neill. A ferocious duel is expected between the two medico brothers as they vie for Admiral's Cup Team selection in
the Farr 40 One Division class. Simon Whiston is currently leading by three points.

The Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race is worth double points in the selection process.

Xena, the big Open 60, skippered by Sean Langman was first out of Pittwater Xena started at the bottom end of the start on
starboard tack, took a left wind shift off Box Head and crossed her major rivals Marchioness, Heaven Can Wait and Infinity
III.

Future Shock, Titan Ford, Wild Thing and Aspect Computing with her team of disAbled sailors were not far behind.

As the boats headed out of Pittwater, Xena was leading Marchioness and RSL Com out to sea, while the rest of the fleet
hugged the coastline to avoid the Southerly current. Xena was unable to finish her race to Hobart after a ripped mainsail, and
owner Langman is itching to prove his boat's mettle.

On the first 'sked' at 4.05pm Xena was leading Heaven Can Wait. The two red boats are expected to be close inshore to
Terrigal.

On present estimations, Xena is expected to finish late tomorrow afternoon with fresh nor'easters expected.

For further information: Georgie Brown 0408 518 792 or 0425 216 488 (note: as the yachting team will be in Coffs
Harbour from late this evening, communications could be dodgy on mobile! - Try both - (on plane from
7.00-9.00pm)

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