In its first serious ocean race in Australia the Harmony 42 ‘Kick Back’ exceeded all expectations by winning the PHS Division 2 and overall PHS Division in the altered 2008 Pittwater to Coffs race.
The Harmony range of yachts was launched into Australia at the Sydney International Boat Show in August ‘07 and the Harmony 42 is considered to be a true cruiser racer. The yacht is designed to perform well offshore in heavy seas and the strong winds encountered around the Australian coast. Combining this true offshore capability with a luxurious interior makes a yacht, which is equally suited to local cruising as it is longer offshore passages.
Steve Hobbs, skipper and director of B&H Marine, importers for the Harmony range has been working hard with his crew to prepare the boat for its first category 2 race.
Steve said, “I have done the Coffs races a few times before, but this is the first time as skipper. We are absolutely ecstatic to get this result, it has made all the hard work put in by the whole crew really worth while.”
The Harmony 42, ‘Kick Back’ got off to a good start with tactician, Cliff Cunningham, director of The Cruising Club and principal agent for Harmony making some good calls as they sailed into the night.
At the midnight sked ‘Kick Back’ was down to 2.5 knots as the wind dropped, Steve said, “ it was a very frustrating evening, we were tacking into a large swell and we only had around 6 knots of wind, the Harmony is an offshore boat and likes a good breeze to get her going. We won the return leg of the RMYC Port Stephens race back in October, where we saw 40-50 knots on the way back, that’s where she really comes into her own.”
As ‘Kick Back’ rounded Boondelbah Island off Port Stephens, it was clear that the Harmony had picked up more places than the crew thought overnight and spirits lifted. The breeze grew to around 20 knots apparent and with cracked sheets, the crew saw a steady 10 knots and occasional 13-14s on the log. It was just the sort of conditions that the Harmony likes and she set a number of competitors in her sights and steadily overhauled them on the day’s fetch back to Botany Bay.
With asymmetric set to get them into the Botany mark, Kick Back had a close rounding but short tacked and pointed higher than the many competitor boats. With navigator, Don Parker’s local knowledge they sailed tightly out of the bay and managed to clear the point well ahead, making for clear air to hoist the asymmetric.
Sailing at 90 deg apparent up the coast towards Barrenjoey, Kick Back was pulling some good numbers when suddenly a squall hit off of Palm Beach and the boat shot off to hit a high of 15.9 knots. Steve said, “ We’ve had the Harmony up to 14.4 knots earlier in the day and thought that logistics manager and crew member, Ray Seggie was going to keep the record for the highest speed seen over the race, but this time she shot up onto the plane and rocketed forward at 15.9 knots overhauling two close boats in a matter of minutes as we came up onto the finish line.”
The Harmony 42 is a fast cruising boat, but this time she has proved again to be a strong performer offshore, endorsing her fast long-distance cruising capabilities. Steve said, “I was very happy with how the boat has performed, the crew worked fantastically together and our foredeck guys, Matt and James did a great job of coping with all the different calls we were making. Once the wind kicked in, we had the right conditions to really see the boat fly. We are looking forward to getting a 52’ into the country later in the year, which will be a great boat to campaign the 2009 race.”
‘Kick Back’ will be going up the coast later in the year to compete in Hamilton Island Race Week, the first Harmony yachts into the country have been sold to fractional ownership company, Yachtshare International where the owners will be able to sail The Whitsundays along with competing in Race Week if they want.
B & H Marine is exclusive importer of the range of Harmony Yachts and is based at Gibson Marina Bayview NSW. The Harmony range includes yachts from 31 -52 feet, plus the new hi-tech Harmony 16M, which will be launched at the Paris International Boat Show late 2008.