Wild Oats XI.
Wild Oats XI. Contributed

Wild Oats missing Coffs race

ENTRIES in the Pittwater and Coffs Harbour Regatta close today, but nominations for Wild Oats X or Wild Oats XI won't be among them.

The event's media director Damian Devine said owner Bob Oatley would race Wild Oats XI in the Sydney to Hobart and then remain in the southern capital to contest the King of the Derwent series, which starts on January 2, rather than head back to Sydney as he normally does for the run to Coffs.

"The Derwent is the same day as we leave Pittwater and with the crew remaining in Hobart, it means Wild Oats X will also be staying at home and won't defend her title," Devine said.

"It's the first time in five years that one or the other boat won't come north.

"While that's disappointing, I can see why Bob wants to chase a Derwent race to add to the portfolio.

"Bob has a new keel fitted and wants to test it out in every way."

Forty boats have already entered the Pittwater and Coffs Regatta.

"A couple always drag the chain and if these come in over the next week or so we'll see what we can do to fit them in," Devine said.

"And at the last minute there's always a chance one of the Hobart boats will turn around to join our race."

The biggest boat entered to date is Hamilton Island-based Nikon Spirit Of The Maid. Owner-skipper Bruce Absolon has declared victory in this race is a long-term passion.

"Next biggest is Future Shock and she's breathtaking to look at," Devine said.

"A beautiful green machine that's fast as lightning in the water.

"While having one of the Wild Oats franchise coming to Coffs would be desirable, their absence opens the race up dramatically. We could be just waiting for another star to emerge."

Regatta merchandise is available to order online from the event website, www.pittwatertocoffs.com.au.

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