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Combined Offshore Series - Solid ocean sailing off Newcastle

by Richard Howard on 18 Mar 2012
Combined Offshore Series, organised by Lake Macquarie Yacht Club (LMYC) and Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club's (NCYC), was held over the weekend of 17th and 18th March off Newcastle and dished out some solid ocean sailing. Great for the sailors... Not so good for the surfers!

With a front making its way through Sydney on Saturday morning LMYC and NCYC's weekend of Combined Ocean Pointscore racing was looking like being a real offshore affair. With yachts meeting off Redhead on the Saturday morning and racing on a 25 nautical mile windward leeward course off Newcastle's beaches some fast downwind runs and bouncy beats were the order of the day. Leading Saturday's race on line honours was Corby 43, Anger Management, while IRC and PHS divisional wins were snared by John Streeter's Bull 9000, The Raging Bull, and Niven James Simpson Phillips 11.3, Menace, respectively.

Yachts retired to NCYC for the evening in preparation for what would be a fresher Sunday...

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Sunday's early 10am start and forecast for 20-30 knot southerlies saw fleet numbers down a little. Following a fresh run out of Newcastle Harbour to a mark in Stockton Bight the fleet settled in to a nice solid upwind beat to a mark off Merewether Beach laid directly behind Newcastle's well-known Surfest competition for whom the fresh southerlies were playing havoc with the quality of waves competitors had to show off the surfing skills. Luckily, the 20-25 knot southerly breeze was more favourable for the yachts who set spinnakers and charged back up the coast passed Nobby's before once again tucking reefs in and pounding their way back south to the Merewether finish line.

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Line honours in Sunday's race once again went to Anger Management who also took home the PHS win. Littlest boat in the fleet, The Raging Bull, managed to hang in there for the IRC win. With the breeze further building as the fleet finished rather than delivering boats back to Lake Macquarie's Swansea entrance most boats returned to Newcastle and will no doubt be delivered home hopefully in a sea breeze during the week...

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