Sail Port Stephens 2011 Performance Divisions Champions crowned

Sydney 39 Fathom (David Berryman) winner of Performance Racing Division Sail Port Stephens 2011
Sail Port Stephens Event Media
The final day of Sail Port Stephens 2011 dawned fine and clear and with good breeze.

There was a collective smile on the Race Committee’s faces this morning as they briefed the Performance Racing and Cruising Divisions skippers and competitors.

With the NSW IRC Fleet sailing an offshore course and the SB3's continuing their National Championship at Salamander Bay, the Performance Racing and Cruising fleets were assigned the inshore course 8, starting in Nelson Bay, then to Salamander Shores, Pindimar Mark, Corlette Mark and back, to the finish line in Nelson Bay.

The starts for all three divisions were clear, the breeze coming in at around 10-15 knots and with the sun shining, there were smiles everywhere. A great job by the Race Committee and officials to get the three divisions away in tide.

On the breakwater wall, which had a great start line view, the various teams had their supporters and as the starter's guns fired, the gathered crowd cheered as the yachts cleared their respective start lines.

In the Performance Racing Division Wasabi, (Bruce McKay) was first across the start line. Marta Jean, (Steve Rae), Iota (John McNamara), Menace (Niven James) and current Series leader, Steven Ford’s modified Sydney 39Cr Fathom were closely bunched as the group opened a gap back to the rest of the fleet. Wasabi obviously enjoying the gusty conditions opened a sizeable lead on the rest of the fleet as they headed towards the Salamander Shores mark.

The Cruising Division 1 start was led by Dances with Waves, Jim Thomas’ Beneteau 40.7. She seemed to have a jump on the fleet but eXcapade (Noel Gough), Bear Necessity (Andrew Dally), Tailwind (Shaw Russet), Joie De Vie (Peter Byford) and Margaret Rintoul V (Graham Mobuckson) were quickly in pursuit. Bear Necessity popped her blue kite, however Amante (Dennis Cooper) and Tailwind did not as the three sailed in close company towards the first mark. Good Form (Joachim Fluhrer) and Antipodes (Greg Newton) joined eXcapade, who had dropped back but was now hoisting her kite.

This fleet too headed towards the Salamander Shores mark, as grey clouds started to appear in the sky.

The Cruising Division 2 start was led by Negotiator (Wayne Taylor). Saga (Patrick Hurley), Navita (Mark Wharton), No Regrets (Ian Billington) and Kahoona (Derek Sheppard) were sailing together.

The sun appeared as the fleet rounded their first mark at Salamander Shores. The breeze continues to build and the word from the race course is that ‘today’s a great day for sailing.’

In the Performance Cruising Division 1, Tailwind was enjoying the ever strengthening breeze as the fleet headed towards Salamander Bay.

But boat after boat was having trouble with the gusts and Tailwind was no exception as she teetered on the edge of the broach. Behind her it was synchronised swimming as Bear Necessity and Amante hit by a gust did a synchro broach.

First across the finish line in race 3 was Margaret Rintoul V, Graham Mobuckson’s Custom 18.5m German-Frers, ahead of Shaw Russett’s Beneteau First 40cr Tailwind. Third was Greg Newton’s Beneteau 523 Antipodes.

Margaret Rintoul V took the double, winning on handicap from Paul Ley’s Kaufman Pilgrim. Antipodes completed the podium.

The Overall performance Cruising Division 1 Series winner was Margaret Rintoul V, on a count back from Tailwind, with Peter Byford’s Joie De Vie, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey7 42i, third.

Margaret Rintoul V (Graham Mobuckson) winner of Performance Cruising division 1 Sail Port Stephens 2011
Sail Port Stephens Event Media

Performance Cruising Division 2 line honours went to Matt Bosner’s Elliott 7, Nervous. Second was Derek Sheppard’s Cavalier 395 Kahoona, with Alistair Bailey’s Beneteau Oceanis 46 Champagne on Ice taking third.

Champagne on Ice took the handicap win, from Accountability, the Jeanneau 40ds skippered by Murray Thompson. Third was velocity, Brian Carrick’s Beneteau First 31.7.

The Overall Performance Cruising Division 2 winner for 2011 was Alistair Bailey’s Champagne on Ice, winning on a count back from Matt Bosner’s Nervous, with Brian Carrick’s Velocity just two points further back.

Champagne on Ice (Alistair Bailey) winner Performance Cruising division 2 Sail Port Stephens 20
Sail Port Stephens Event Media

The results were close with the two Performance Cruising Divisions both being decided on a count back.

Excitement too in the Performance Racing Division.

By the time the fleet had hoisted their kites the breeze had lifted to 18 knots and the green Sayer 12, Bruce Mackay’s Wasabi, a noted downwind flyer was fast down the course, so too was John McNamara’s Farr 40 Iota. But the little boat that could, Bob Dempsey’s lightweight GP26 Rapid Transit blasted into the lead. She led Wasabi round the bottom mark, ahead of Iota and Ian Humphris' Rhumb.

Upwind Wasabi took the lead, ahead of Iota.

However Iota found the breeze and sailed back into the lead taking line honours in race 4, ahead of Rhumb and Wasabi.

On handicap the winner was the GP26 Rapid Transit, skippered by Brett Van Munster. Rhumb was second, with Wasabi third.

The 2011 Performance Racing champion is Fathom, the modified Sydney 39CR, skippered by David Berryman. Second was Rapid Transit, with Rhumb third.

GP26 Rapid Transit (Bob Dempsey) second in Performance Racing Sail Port Stephens 2011.
Sail Port Stephens Event Media

Quotes to follow.

Full results and more information at Sail Port Stephens 2011 website

All results provisional.