Day 5 of Sail Port Stephens 2012 dawned fine and clear, a welcome contrast to the record rains earlier in the week during the Commodores Cup. It was a postcard day on the water for the record 165 boats racing in the fifth annual regatta.
Elliott 7 action
It was a busy day for Race Officials with the Sail Port Stephens Trophy Series and the Elliott 7 sports boat National Championships commencing and the Sail Port Stephens Junior regatta concluding.
The Performance Racing and Performance Cruising divisions were set course 2. The course took the fleet from the start line to Nelson Head buoy, back to the middle ground beacon thence to the south channel mark then back to middle ground, all within the scenic waterways of Port Stephens.
The scheduled start time of 11:00am came and went as the fleet waited patiently in bright sunshine for the breeze to build. At 12:20pm in five knots, RO Greg Sinclair started the first of the Performance Racing divisions.
Tony Lobb's PT 73 led at the top mark from Matt Allen's Farr 400 Ichi Ban, who then found a sand bar and with her deep keel was stuck hard and fast as the fleet passed her by.
Graham Mobuckson’s Margaret Rintoul V soon led the fleet. Tony Lobb's PT 73 was second but went a little too close to shore and visited Dutchie's Beach. She's The Culprit (The Culprit Syndicate) sailed up into second place but PT 73 was soon off the sand and she crossed just two metres ahead of Culprit.
Bradley Sewell's Breezin (Melges 32) was the Performance Racing Division 1 race 1 handicap winner. Second was Iota (John McNamara) with Long Time Dead (Matthew Fensom) third. Today's line honours went to Margaret Rintoul V (Graham Mobuckson).
Breezin going about. Sail Port Stephens 2012 day 5
The Race 1 Performance Racing Division 2 handicap win went to Matthew Brown's Orbit (Shaw 10) from She's The Culprit (Inglis-Jones/Hart 39), with Niven James' Menace (Phillips Simson 11.7) third. Line honours went to She's The Culprit.
The Performance Cruising Division 1 Race 1 win went to Bruce Ritchie's Union, from Euphoria (Anthony Coleman) and Secret Men's Business 1 (Robert Curtis). Line honours went to Euphoria.
Division 2 went to Dean Gillies Firefly, from Outlandish (Sean Barrett) with Rampage (Phillip Owens) third. Line honours also went to Firefly.
Dockside skipper Matt Allen (Ichi Ban) was philosophical. 'We are still learning the boat. We could have done better upwind, once we settled down we were faster than the Farr 40's.
'We gained at every corner and we do accelerate faster being lighter. We hit the lead from the first gybe and were sailing away until we hit the sand - just went too wide - it looked fine on the chart.
'So now we are looking forward to tomorrow's racing.'
Offshore the IRC Grand Prix fleet were sailing windward leewards. The hot fleet faced a two metre seaway and choppy conditions.
IRC Division 1 race 1 handicap winner was 2011 Australian IRC Champion and defending Sail Port Stephens champion Marcus Blackmore's TP52 Hooligan, from dual Sydney to Hobart winner Bob Steel's Quest, with Accenture Yeah Baby, Louis Ryckmans GP42, third. IRC Division 2 race 1 handicap winner was Exile, Garry Holt's DK46 from Darryl Hodgkinson's Beneteau 45 Victoire with Bernie Van T' Hof's Swan 45 Tulip, third. In IRC Division 3 race 1 Raging Bull, John Streeter's Bull 9000 took the honours from Anthony Paterson's Beneteau 34.7 Tow Truck, with L’Altra Donna, Andy Kearnan's Summit 35, third.
In the second of the Division 1 races, Hooligan again won on handicap, from Jason Van Der Slot's Calm with Quest third. In the second Division 2 race, it was Exile again from Tulip and Thirlmere the Warneford/Jamieson Sydney 38. In Division 3 Roger Hickman's Farr 43 Wild Rose won from L'Altra Donna with Tow Truck third.
Overall Hooligan leads IRC Division 1 and Exile leads Division 2. Division 3 lead is shared by L'Altra Donna and Tow Truck, both on five points.
Marcus Blackmore (Hooligan) commented 'It was not easy out there today. There was quite a bit of current at the top mark, quite a bit of seaway and only ten to eleven knots.
'I have to go to Canberra tomorrow and Mark Richards is going to have his first drive of a TP52 so you can expect to see him at the pin.
'All in all this event is an important part of our preparation for Hamilton Island Race Week.'
The Elliott 7 Australian Championship commenced at 12:00 noon in Salamander Bay.
Race 1 of the series went to Aaron Terrey's Selden Deck Hardware from Michael Green's Evergreen, with Port Stephens's local Matt Bonser's Nervous third. Race 2 again went to Selden Deck Hardware from Woof (Jim Walsh) with Evergreen third. It was a clean sweep for Selden Deck Hardware, who took race 3 from Nervous and Woof.
Overall Selden Deck Hardware leads the series on 3 points from Nervous and Evergreen, both on 11 points.
Selden Deck Hardware day 1 leader of Elliott 7 Australian Championship at Sail Port Stephens 2012
Elliott 7 leader Aaron Terrey (Selden Deck Hardware) said 'We've had a great start, three wins from three races, but there is a long way to go. It's great to see such a good turn out, it was fantastic racing today.'
The Sail Port Stephens Junior regatta participants were also out on the water for day 2 of their competition. After another fun day of competition the OTB Series winner was Sam Luker from Tom Grimes with Margaret Mason third. The One Design winner was Margaret Mason from Tom Grimes and Lachlan Atkins. The Mixed Class winner was Sam Luker from James Robertson and Madison Lee.
Junior Regatta - heading for the top mark
All results are provisional only and subject to protest.
Full results, entries and more information can be found at Sail Port Stephens website www.sailportstephens.com.au
Junior action aplenty on day 2 at Sail Port Stephens 2012 Junior Regatta 2012