A record 134 boats have already entered the sixth annual Sail Port Stephens race week that runs from April 16th to 22nd.
Fleet on day 2 of the Commodore’s Cup at Sail Port Stephens 2011
Large numbers of these yachts have already sailed into Port Stephens, while two feeder races from Pittwater to Newcastle on Saturday and Newcastle to Port Stephens on Sunday, will bring others from Sydney.
Commodore Dom Grundy from the Corlette Point Sailing Club, the organising authority, said ‘We are delighted with the support we have received this year. The growth curve continues and there will no doubt be late entries for the Sail Port Stephen Trophy series in the second half of the week.’
The promise of great sailing, beautiful scenery and family holiday opportunities has attracted a strong and varied cruising fleet of 46 vessels for the Commodores Cup being sailed from next Monday to Wednesday.
The spirit of the Commodores Cup is captured by the Peter Lewis entered Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37 cruising yacht, Lu Lu Belle.
For the Sydney crew this event triggers a major cruising holiday expedition as Peter explained. ‘We are a cruising crew having fun. We are old salts, with an average of 300 years of sailing experience on the boat at any one time, brothers in-law married to six sisters, a very shallow gene pool.
‘Sail Port Stephens has become a tradition for us now and we will do our pre-regatta training between Sydney and Pittwater on Friday 13th. Our basketball mascot ‘Wilson’ could easily roll overboard, requiring a man overboard rescue.
‘On Friday night we are rafting up before the Pittwater to Newcastle Race, it will be a big night and a good race the next day.
‘After a great night at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club we will race the 28 miles to Port Stephens. Then we will enjoy the Sunday night Welcome Cocktail Party, three days of relaxing cruising in the Commodores Cup and then on the Thursday lay day we will have another legendary Hunter Valley Winery experience.
‘After that we will look forward to another three days of cruising division sailing and then we do a leisurely cruise back to Sydney over the following week.
‘A large number of family members will rotate through the boat as they do every year. It’s really good fun for us.’
The Lu Lu Belle crew with team mascot Wilson on their Hunter Valley Adventure in 2009 - Sail Port Stephens
This year it’s is a very diverse Commodores Cup fleet which will face the starters gun with sailors of all levels of experience and boats, from serious racers to luxury cruisers on the water.
World Champion 18 foot sailor Micah Lane will skipper Boules, a Beneteau First 30; Sydney to Hobart record holder George Snow has entered his beautiful cruiser, the Beneteau Oceanis 50 Argo Blue.
Chris Rabbidge and family will join the cruising fleet in the hot new McConaghy 38 Cone of Silence. Jan Bartel’s Archambault 32 Espirit and John McNamara’s Farr 40 IRC racer Iota will be competing as will John and Kim Clinton’s highly recognisable Beneteau Oceanis 50 Holy Cow. The ‘Cow’ is nearly as colourful as the owner John, the leader of the very popular ‘Wolverines’ country rock group.
Adding to this mix are boats such as David Mason’s Europa, a beautiful Wauquiez C45 and Anthony Paterson’s Beneteau 34.7, Tow Truck. Throw in Peter McKenzie’s well performed trailerable boat Le Rossignol, a Ross 7.8 and John Kearney’s Elliot 7 Aqueous Humour and the true diversity of this fleet begins to appear.
From Thursday there will be a distinct change of pace with one of the best Grand Prix IRC fleets of recent years fighting for the NSW IRC Championships; to date there are 29 entries and this fleet will be split in two.
There is a highly competitive Elliot 7 fleet contesting the Elliot 7 Australian Championship, a very high quality field entered in the Performance Racing division and fun to be had in the Performance Cruising fleet.
As part of this very family oriented event, the Sail Port Stephens Junior Regatta is being sailed with O’Pen Bics and Optimists from Wednesday to Friday.
Visit the website Sail Port Stephens http://www.sailportstephens.com.au for the latest news on one of the best regattas in one of the most beautiful spots in Australia.
Current entry list
Janelle Gardner Sail Port Stephens 0422 844 198
Images available on the event site High Resolution images available for accredited media.