Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

Light and easy opener predicted for Sail Port Stephens

by Mark Rothfield 8 Apr 2018 02:50 PDT
Newcastle Harbour start – Sail Port Stephens © Mark Rothfield

Port Stephens wore its Sunday-best weather today, with summer-like temperatures and gentle autumn breezes, however it made for some leisurely progress in the annual Sail Port Stephens feeder race from Newcastle.

The Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club sent its largest ever fleet of 48 yachts across Stockton Bight in 5-10 knots after a spectacular, tightly packed start on Newcastle Harbour.

Leading the way from start to finish was Ian Bower's Farr 400 Ignition from Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, followed by the Corby 43 Anger Management helmed by Richard Arnall and modified Farr 36 Toy Story.

They're now set to compete in Sail Port Stephens' opening event, the Commodores Cup, over the next three days, which also boasts a record fleet of 78 yachts split into three divisions.

Friday to Sunday sees a full card of racing, including national titles for the Australian Sports Boat Association, State Championships for IRC and Super 12s, plus Performance Racing and Cruising Divisions.

"Now in our 11th year, we have our largest ever fleet in the iconic Pantaenius Commodores Cup and the prospect of some postcard-perfect weather over coming days. I'm sure our visiting crews will see why Port Stephens is favourably compared with the world's premier yachting regions," Regatta Director Paul O'Rourke said.

"Broughtons at the Bay function centre at d'Albora Marina Nelson Bay becomes the yacht club 'hub' for registrations, briefings and post-race celebrations, but really you can feel the nautical fever right throughout Nelson Bay.

"All the marinas are full, the social calendar is packed, and it looks like being our best regatta – not just the biggest"

Race Officer Denis Thompson says light winds and moderate tides should get the fleet off to an easy start. "The weather looks like being fantastic if you happen to like fishing, waterskiing and dolphin-watching," he joked.

"It's a great fleet as well, amazing when you think we started with only 20 or so boats. I've had to do some course adjustments to avoid having too many boats coming back on each other."

It's a time for the many different production yachts to shine in the sun, alongside an eclectic smattering of older or modified racing designs. The mixed-fleet PHS handicapping is always a challenge for organisers, but the Sail Port Stephens committee is using a baseline guide developed by UK's Royal Yachting Association.

"It has hundreds of designs listed so we can get 90% of the boats covered as a starting point. With others we look at past results or club performance," Thompson added.

"With such a wide range of boat we won't have a spinnaker or non-spinnaker division as such, but we're asking skippers to advise us if they're not planning to use a kite and we'll adjust their handicap accordingly."

The surprise packet in today's Newcastle-Port Stephens race was Anger Management, not a renowned light airs flyer. Adding to its second placing on line honours, it claimed first in both IRC and ORCi, and second in PHS.

"The boat normally likes more breeze but we managed to carry our A1 spinnaker shyer than normal and a lot further than the other boats around us," Richard Arnall said. "Flowing on from our win in the Coffs Harbour race, the boat's still going really well."

Anger has competed in every Sail Port Stephens series and feeder race over the past 11 years. "Every time we've been beaten it's by a boat on the beach... and today we were the boat on the beach," Arnall added.

Ignition grabbed second in ORCi while Newcastle yacht Schouten Passage, a Beneteau 40 skippered by Rob Howard, was runner-up in IRC.

Flying the flag for production yachts, Rob Aldis's Azuree 46 Kayimai grabbed a pair of thirds in ORCi and IRC. The twin-ruddered Rob Humphreys design has entered the Performance Cruising category at Sail Port Stephens but most certainly has a blue-blooded performance.

PHS honours went to 2XCESS, a Farr 30 from Southern Lake Macquarie, edging out the Sydney 38 Challenge and Anger Management.

www.sailportstephens.com.au

Related Articles

Winners & wipeouts on Sail Port Stephens final day
Extreme weather including 20 knot squirts of sou'west wind The best breeze of Sail Port Stephens' second half closed out the pointscore for a record number of entries, triggered wipeouts and decided a brand new Australian Sports Boat champion and state champions in the VX One class, plus three IRC divisions. Posted on 14 Apr 2019
Fluky conditions set stage for intriguing finale
Penultimate day threw up another mixed bag for the 150-boat fleet Sail Port Stephens' penultimate day threw up another mixed bag for the 150-boat fleet contesting various divisions and class titles at the 12th annual sailing regatta over the perfect opening weekend of the NSW school holidays. Posted on 14 Apr 2019
Testing times demand class in the 'glass'
The opening day of the Pantaenius Yacht Insurance Port Stephens Trophy The opening day of the Pantaenius Yacht Insurance Port Stephens Trophy challenged crews and on-water officials in equal amounts, long delays to the start of racing and a drawn-out single race against dramatic skies Posted on 13 Apr 2019
The Apres Regatta - Sail Port Stephens
The largest yachting regatta in New South Wales When you look at the colour of the water, and the proximity to Sydney, it is not hard to see why Sail Port Stephens, over the past ten years has become the largest yachting regatta in New South Wales with a fleet of 180 boats. Posted on 12 Apr 2019
Port Stephens set to host second record fleet
State and national titles up for grabs Port Stephens is preparing to host the best of Australia's eastern seaboard keelboat racing this weekend when a record 150 crews, racing trailable sports boats to the latest generation TP52 Posted on 11 Apr 2019
Consistency key to Commodore's Cup success
As the first half of Sail Port Stephens closed out The first half of Sail Port Stephens closed out in the most breeze of the three-day series, puffy southerly winds up to 22 knots on the bay causing spinnakers to flog and some crews to scramble as boats tipped and rounded up in the gusts. Posted on 11 Apr 2019
A case of Catch 22 in entrée to Sail Port Stephens
Catch 22 in feeder race It's 22 nautical miles from Newcastle Harbour to the Port Stephens heads, and today there was a catch – as in, no breeze at the start of the annual Sail Port Stephens feeder race. Posted on 7 Apr 2019
Record fleet ready to roll at Sail Port Stephens
248 entries have been received across classes As Sail Port Stephens 2019 comes under starters orders, a mammoth 248 entries have been received across classes ranging from sports boats to TP52s – even before counting the junior one-sail and 16-foot skiff fleets that will register on their race day. Posted on 4 Apr 2019
Bannisters aboard as Commodores Cup sponsors
Sail Port Stephens 2019 welcomed aboard Bannisters Port Stephens as a new sponsor Sail Port Stephens 2019 has welcomed aboard Bannisters Port Stephens as a new sponsor for its entrée event, the Commodores Cup, starting April 8. Posted on 15 Mar 2019
Sports boats back for Sail Port Stephens 2019
Australian Sports Boat Association returning by popular demand By popular demand, the Australian Sports Boat Association (ASBA) is returning to Sail Port Stephens for an unprecedented third consecutive year to stage its 2019 national titles. And joining them for the first time is the VX One class Posted on 4 Mar 2019
MBW newsletters (top)