by John Curnow
This Easter, there is no doubt where country’s best IRC racers will be doing battle. If you’re serious about your IRC credentials then the majestic waters off Newcastle is where you need to be. The Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) is conducting the 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championship from April 17 to 20. If you’re not already entered, then you need to see why your competitors have already booked themselves in for the event.
Simply wonderful day to be out there - sure Quest thought so, too. - Sail Port Stephens
It’s time to see what those in Class A have done in readiness for the battle royale. One very well known and accomplished sailor making tracks for Newcastle this Easter is Bob Steel, who is bringing his Hobart winning TP52, Quest. Steel said, 'Kark Kwok's Beau Geste will be the benchmark boat in Class A, especially with Gavin Brady and their strong crew, so we’ll have to find a way round them. Our crew is up to the task. Jamie MacPhail (Pantaenius Australia’s MD) will drive Quest, as he does for these types of regattas. We have also have Sammy Newton returning from Skiff and Cup duties to give us a hand, along with some of his mates, which is good news.'
The TP52 Quest was late to start having ducked in towards Manly to affect some small repairs. - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
'We came second a few weeks ago in the Sydney Harbour Regatta, so we are now looking forward to the Nationals. The boat is the best prepared it has ever been. Quest will be up there in the top few'.
'Matt Allen’s new Ichi Ban will be the biggest boat by far. The two passage races could well favour the new Carkeek 60. They’re still learning the boat, so maybe Newcastle will be where it all clicks into gear. Look out for the smaller craft if conditions don’t allow the big guns to fire. Who knows how it will pan out? We’re just excited about getting up to Newcastle and getting racing. It is a great venue and fantastic for Sydneysiders, because they can just drive up the F3, so that’s a good thing', Steel finished by saying.
Matt Allen's ICHI BAN charges down Sydney Harbour - Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2013
NCYC CEO, Richard Howard, said 'Our Commodore, Phil Arnall, owns the Corby 43, Anger Management. Following some damage she’s just had her mast re-stepped and is now undergoing testing, well in time for the regatta. Other NCYC yachts that will be competing include Farr 40 PT 73, TP52 Frantic and also my mum, dad and my little brother on their Beneteau 40.7, Schouten Passage, just to name a few'.
Anger Management rounds the top mark in the first race of the day. - Sail Port Stephens
Asked his hot tip for tops honour Howard continued 'I think Beau Geste will certainly be a difficult boat to beat. It has got all the hot shots on board, who not that long ago cleaned up the TP52 circuit in Australia. Other TPs include Quest, our own NCYC guys on Frantic and the Cougar II team from Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. I am so thrilled we have Tassie representation at the regatta. All these race machines will be hot on the heels of Matt Allen’s Carkeek 60. I know Tom Slingsby is sailing with Matt Allen so as usual there’s plenty of talent on Ichi Ban for the regatta. The new Ker46, Patrice is on its way here too and has shown some pretty good form since having its bow wetted before Christmas. It’s going to be interesting!' Howard finished by saying.
Tom Slingsby (ORACLE Team USA)
So the answer is yes! As an IRC racer in Class A, B or C, you should be bound for Newcastle and the 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championships this Easter. See http://www.ncyc.net.au to keep abreast of it all.
Entrance to Newcastle Harbour. - 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championship
Concealed Weapon returns to harbour after racing offshore. - 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championship