Saturday’s Beneteau Cup Pittwater 2014 is set to offer owners double the competition and double the fun for the first time in the event’s 14-year history.
As well as vying for Beneteau glory within the select class, crews will contest race two of the regular Lion Island Series run by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Newport, on Saturday May 10, 2014.
A handful of those entered in the Beneteau Cup have elected to tackle the spinnaker option and compete against the bulk of the RPAYC fleet in divisions one to three. The rest will transform division four from a small non-spinnaker fleet into a mass Beneteau flotilla.
Given the Cup is for some Beneteau owners one of only two times a year they race - the other being the Beneteau Cup Sydney Harbour - forecast light N-NW winds at 10 knots is good news for owners who’d rather keep the champagne flowing and stress levels corked.
Ngak Ngak Beneteau Cup - Beneteau Cup Pittwater 2014 - Christophe Launay & Vicsail
For the more competitive crews on the heavier built Beneteaus, light autumn winds on a traditionally fickle patch of water will create snakes and ladders, opportunities lost and gained.
The trip from Sydney to Pittwater this weekend marks the start of Ivor Burgess’ delivery north of his Oceanis 45, Still Dangerous, for the popular August Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and Magnetic Island series.
'We are pretty excited about the Cup; it’s something we look forward to each year, and not just the sailing but the social aspect of all the owners getting together,' said Burgess this morning. 'There should be no stress in light air, it’s easier for those who don’t race regularly and good for getting boats in and out of pens.'
Still Dangerous draws a laugh when people see the 'elderly gentlemen' who make up the crew. The name was the last left from an original list of 50 when Burgess and company sat down one evening with a couple of bottles of vino to choose the moniker for a previous boat. Though the yachts have been traded and the crew matured, the name has stuck.
The travelling Howard family from Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club has developed a solid six month program that kicked off with the Audi IRC Australian Championship at their home club a couple of weeks ago. The First 40.7 is being delivered to Pittwater by parents Rob and Jan. Sons Richard and Willy will join them for the Beneteau Cup then take the reins for a short-handed race back to Newcastle the following Saturday. Trailing the sun’s warmth, Schouten Passage, named after a stretch of water on the Tasmanian east coast, has signed up for Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island race weeks.
Slow motion bunch-up - Beneteau Cup Pittwater 2014 - Christophe Launay & Vicsail
Shane Crookshanks from Vicsail says, 'The Beneteau Cup Pittwater is the ‘must do’ event for all Beneteau owners, particularly those who don’t race year-round. This Saturday we’ll have seven Beneteaus 50 feet and above, including the new Oceanis 53 Ocean Road, and lots of fun and festivities both on and off the race track.'
He suggests crews should look out for a couple of celebrity guests on the day.
The staff at Vicsail thank the following businesses for their support of the Beneteau Cup Pittwater 2014:
• Global Grapevine - bringing a new French flare with the donation of French wines for all crews
• Ongoing sponsor David Boekmann
• Sunzapper - keeping crews safe
• Lejen Marine - donating a Highfield Dinghy to win
• Sheets Ahoy - donating beautiful Beneteau embroidered division prizes
• Sail Time - offering a corporate day on the water
• Other material sponsors; Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Sydney City Marine, Club Marine, AC Shoes, Yaffa, Slam, Boatcrewgear.com, Quantum Sails, boatshoesonline.com.au
Following the 10.30am Beneteau owner’s briefing at RPAYC, divisions one to three will head to the start line for a midday start of the Lion Island Race. The gun will fire at 12.05pm for division four non-spinnaker.
Prizes will be presented in the evening at a 6pm sit-down dinner at RPAYC. Event website