by Rob Kothe
There was smiles all round at the end of the 2008 Heaven Can Wait Regatta. The Royal Motor Yacht Club was packed with tired but happy sailors yesterday afternoon for the Presentation ceremony. The Heaven Can Wait club has been the recipient of some wonderful hand crafted brass perpetual trophies, made by Balmain Sailing Club member Steve Prince.
Late afternoon, the 2008 Heaven Can Wait 24 hour race.
Balmain Sailing Club President David Stenhouse was proud of the effort of his Club in supporting the 2008 event.
He said ‘All eight of our boats sailed up from Sydney over the last week. There was a little excitement in that, my boat Umbakumba, ran ahead of a 40 knot southerly while Aquaholic had 35 knots on the nose the day before.
‘Balmain encourages boats to sail in other Clubs events, by giving average points for sailing in other major regattas. The Heaven Can Wait regatta is high on that list.
‘It’s a rapidly growing regatta; it provides some unique experiences (overnight sailing) in a very safe environment and it’s a great charity cause.'
Commodore Shaun Lewecki, the cancer survivor who dreamed up the event and organised the 2006 and 2007 races, was much more relaxed this year with the Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club committee shouldering much of the organisational load.
‘This year’s race was like sailing in a little bit of heaven; just being out there was wonderful for me.
‘We had an amazing variety of weather. During the Sunday morning thunderstorm when there was a crack of thunder which seemed like it was directly overhead, I just about fell out of the boat I got such a fright.
‘We had a little leak ... we were bailing about 25 litres per hour, but that was just caused by a dry joint, she’s (Heaven Can Wait) been on the hard stand for too long. Actually the boat is ready for a summer program.
‘I have to say I am thrilled by the support the event is getting and stunned by the number of people introducing themselves to me and telling me what enormous fun the race is.’
Lewecki said he and all cancer survivors were heartened by the enthusiasm with which the sports boat and trailerable sailing community Australia wide had embraced this charity event, which raised close to $10,000 for the Newcastle Branch of the NSW Cancer Council and for the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol Swansea.
He commented that interstate and Sydney sailors believed the Lake Macquarie race had great potential, with a similar 12 hour race in Paynesville Victoria attracting up to 600 boats each year before the Gippsland lakes silted up.
Principal Race Officer Phil Yeomans summed up. ‘Another fun event. This year’s weather provided great challenges from 3 knots to 18 and wind from every point of the compass. Very shifty conditions.
‘Actually this is one of the harder races on the East Coast calendar, considering the overall 24 Hour Race winner Two Tribes sailed 155 nautical miles and Wallop, the leading monohull, sailed 141 nautical miles.
‘With the growing success of this race we could easily see 100 boats in 2009, with boats coming from Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
‘At a local level we are keen to talk to the other Lake Macquarie Clubs with the aim of them adding this race to their annual point score program.'‘
In spite of strong competition it was a great result for Lake Macquarie sailors, who managed to snare a lot of the silverware. Clive Kennedy's catamaran Two Tribes was the overall line honours winner in the 24 Hour Race, ahead of Peter Hewson's Sydney 41 Wallop and Kim Williams Rock n' Roll.
Heaven Can Wait Regatta 2008 Official Results
1st Place, Teams Race - Balmain Sailing Club Cockatoo team Aquaholic, Umbakumba and Pisto lDawn
2nd Place, Teams Race - Balmain Sailing Club Snapper team Windchaser, CatsPaw and Sobroan
3rd Place, Teams Race - Mannering Park team Heaven Can Wait, TerrarToo and Lady Grace
1st Place, Scratch, 24 Hour - Race Two Tribes
2nd Place, Scratch, 24 Hour - Race Wallop
3rd Place, Scratch, 24 Hour - Race Rock ‘N’ Roll
1st Place, Handicap, 24 Hour Race - Sobroan
2nd Place, Handicap, 24 Hour Race - Rock ‘N’ Roll
3rd Place, Handicap, 24 Hour Race - Two Tribes
1st Place, HCP Division 1, 24 Hour Race - Rock ‘n’ Roll
2nd Place, HCP Division 1, 24 Hour Race - Two Tribes
3rd Place, HCP Division 1, 24 Hour Race - Pistol Dawn
1st Place, HCP Division 2, 24 Hour Race - Sobroan
2nd Place, HCP Division 2, 24 Hour Race - Cats Paw
3rd Place, HCP Division 2, 24 Hour Race - Umbakumba
1st Place, Scratch, 1 Lap Dash - Wallop
2nd Place, Scratch, 1 Lap Dash - Fly Blown
3rd Place, Scratch, 1 Lap Dash - Rock ‘n’ Roll
1st Place, Handicap, 1 Lap Dash - Cats Paw
2nd Place, Handicap, 1 Lap Dash - Maserati
3rd Place, Handicap, 1 Lap Dash - Mitchell Sails
24 Hour Longest Distance overall - HCW YC team