Entries are closing today for the sixth annual Sail Port Stephens, which will run from 16 to 22 April 2012.
Commodore Dom Grundy from the Corlette Point Sailing Club, the organising authority, said ‘Sail Port Stephens is continuing to gain strength amongst both the cruising and racing fraternity.
‘We have a big and exciting fleet and a strong sailing and social program again this year and we are looking forward to the best ever Sail Port Stephens.
To date 43 boats have entered the Commodores Cup, ranging from serious cruisers like Yes Dear, the Beneteau 47 with biminis and deck lounge, to the dedicated racing weapon The Cone of Silence, a McConaghy 38 being ‘cruised’ by the Rabbidge family ahead of some serious racing later in the regatta by owner Jamie Neill.
23 boats have already entered in the IRC Racing division. While the big gun of this fleet, Stephen Ainsworth's Reichel Pugh 63 Loki should step out from the pack, a fascinating handicap battle is expected between the TP52s – defending Sail Port Stephens champion Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan, Rob Hanna's Shogun V, Julian van der Slot's Calm and Bob Steel’s Quest.
While Hanna raced his Dhogun IV at last year's regatta, his new Shogun V is a latest generation TP52 and was built in 2011 as Audi Azzurra for the TP52 Audi MedCup series in Europe while Hooligan, the former Emirates Team NZ, was built in 2009.
Four year old Quest, the 2010 Sail Port Stephens Regatta winner, realistically two generations old, has a time advantage of around 90 seconds a mile on the two newer boats.
If Hooligan and Shogun V scrap at the front of this group and owner driver Bob Steel and experienced tactician Jamie McPhail start well and keep clear of Calm, then Quest with her new sail wardrobe and a few recent tweaks might break the lock that Blackmore and his well campaigned racer have had for the past year on the IRC class, across the Grand Prix series from Hamilton Island to Geelong.
The Performance Racing Division certainly contains some top class new boats including Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club skipper Barry Kelly’s Archambault M34 and Matt Allen’s Farr 400 Ichi Ban.
We would not be surprised to see Jamie Neill move his MC38 The Cone of Silence from the IRC fleet to do battle with the Farr 400.
There’s a big 24 boat fleet in the Performance Cruising division with more entries expected.
It’s an interesting fleet with Graeme Mobuckson Frer 18.5 Margaret Rintoul V up front and Peter Lewis, his brothers-in-law and Wilson the basketball with personality, aboard Lu Lu Belle, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37.
The 2012 Elliott 7 Australian Championship is being sailed as part of Sail Port Stephens 2012. One recent entry is 18 footer sailor Andrew Chapman onboard Taking Back Sunday and this will be a very hard fought series.
Sail Port Stephens is expanding further with the introduction of the Junior Regatta, which will run between Easter and the first weekend of the event.
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson said today ‘There are still a number of entries to come through, with some owners having already booked their marina berths but not yet officially entered and we expect those entries over the coming week.
‘Skippers should note that entries are closing soon - 5pm on Tuesday April 10th, so entries will be an online Easter task.’
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.
Notice of Race is available here
Online entry is now available here
Current entry list
Soldiers Point Marina website
Event contact details, images & media accreditation facilities on the event website.
by Sail Port Stephens media
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3:33 AM Tue 10 Apr 2012GMT
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