Please select your home edition

SAILFEST to put the 'new' in Newcastle

by Mark Rothfield 21 Jan 2019 22:03 PST 29-31 March 2019
16s Newcastle Harbour - SAILFEST Newcastle Regatta © Mark Rothfield

What better way to start a new year than to announce an all-new, all-encompassing sailing event for Newcastle in NSW?

Billed as the SAILFEST Newcastle Regatta, the event will be co-hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) and Port Hunter 16ft Sailing Club (PHSC) from 29-31 March 2019.

It brings together a smorgasbord of offshore racers, Elliott 6 sport boats, 16-foot skiffs, off-the-beach performance classes, Lasers, trailer yachts and TrySailing trainers.

Incorporated are the inaugural TP52 Gold Cup, with up to a dozen yachts expected, along with the annual 'Cock of the Harbour' race that heralds the fastest sailing vessel on Newcastle Harbour and remains one of the oldest trophies in Australian sailing.

Although a new event, SAILFEST rekindles the historic Newcastle Harbour Regatta that was first staged in 1834, some three years prior to Sydney's Australia Day Regatta – which is touted as the world's oldest continuously-conducted sailing event – and a full decade before Geelong's Australia Day Regatta.

A carnival atmosphere prevailed as the port abounded with sails, an extract from the local newspaper of that era painting the following scene: "Never were the wharves so densely thronged with sightseers. Three steamers also followed the race, aboard which were bands that discoursed some excellent music during the afternoon".

According to Paul O'Rourke, CEO of Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, that vision for a friendly and sociable event remains today.

"With the timing of our two key events – the TP52 Gold Cup and the Cock of the Harbour – an opportunity arose for the NCYC and PHSC to embrace this proud past while also showcasing the present and future stars of sailing," he said.

"The Harbour presents a perfect amphitheatre for sailing and spectating, allowing visitors to stroll the Foreshore and watch everything from dinghy sailing and model yachts, to Olympic class boats and skiffs in the Honeysuckle Basin, and TP52s and ocean racing directly off Newcastle Beach."

The Honeysuckle precinct will become the Sail Village for the duration of SAILFEST, with Olympic-class Laser and Elliott 6 racing conducted close by.

PHSC is hosting the Cock of the Harbour on the main harbour on the Saturday afternoon, giving spectators at nearby Queens Wharf a prime view. On Sunday, attention will turn to the Newcastle Harbour Regatta with a wide variety of racing craft.

Families can participate in a Try Sailing experience in the sheltered waters of Throsby Basin, Carrington, on both weekend mornings. As another novel event, model yacht racing will be conducted under lights at NCYC.

Newcastle itself is a thriving cultural and events hub, rated a Top Ten city in Lonely Planet's 'Best in travel', four-time winner of the IFEA World Festival and Event City Award, and a National Geographic Traveller Smart City.

The surrounding precinct has restaurants and retail specialty stores, connected by a new tram from February, while the nearby beaches and proximity to the Hunter wine region make it an attractive drawcard for non-sailing family members and friends.

On March 29, rugby supporters among the sailing community can watch the NSW Waratahs take on Japan's Sunwolves in a Super Rugby clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.

For more details on SAILFEST see, or email

Related Articles

The Great Escape
Planning for liberation after the outbreak, huh?! Planning for liberation after the outbreak, huh?! Well, a collection of New South Wales clubs has very much kept the spirit of Squadron Leader Roger Bushell alive. Posted on 31 May
SCL-Asia Pacific Northern Qualifier overall
NCYC leaned on teamwork and plenty of experience Newcastle Cruising YC's team, skippered by talented offshore yachtsman Joe de Kock, leaned on teamwork and plenty of experience to post eight firsts and one second from their nine races in the SAILING Champions League - Asia Pacific northern qualifier. Posted on 15 Mar
SCL-Asia Pacific Northern Qualifier filling fast
SAILING Champions League - Asia Pacific 2020 NoRs posted The Notice of Race for the three remaining 2020 SAILING Champions League - Asia Pacific events are now online. Posted on 15 Feb
Farr 40 One Design Trophy at NCYC day 1
Edake claims boat of the day Principal Race Officer Ted Anderson set a one nautical mile course off Bar Beach, just south of Newcastle Beach for the first four races of the Farr 40 One Design Trophy. Posted on 16 Nov 2019
Asahi Regatta blows out cobwebs … not the budget
The annual Asahi Regatta hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club What better way to blow out the winter cobwebs, without blowing the budget, than to contest the annual Asahi Regatta hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC). Posted on 3 Sep 2019
2019-20 National Sailing League calendar announced
2019-2020 season roll-out The National Sailing League Oceania is delighted to announce its expansion from the single final launch in season one to at least five fleet racing events across two states making up the 2019-20 calendar. Posted on 13 Aug 2019
Sticks and Stinks – They do mix!
SCIBS looms, predominantly a powerboat event, with a few sails too SCIBS looms, and whilst it is predominantly a powerboat event, there are a few sticks around. One that will undoubtedly standout against its far cruisier cousins, will be the one above the very racey hull form that is the FarEast 28R. Posted on 5 May 2019
SailFest Newcastle day 3
Koa capitalised on its opening day heroics The inaugural TP52 Gold Cup resumed in earnest on the final day of SailFest Newcastle, with the seven-strong fleet completing four windward-leeward races in challenging offshore conditions. Posted on 31 Mar 2019
SailFest Newcastle day 2
Survival of the fittest, not fastest Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson was forced to cancel TP52 and IRC/PHS racing for the day after the Bureau of Meteorology issued a gale warning for Hunter coastal waters. Posted on 30 Mar 2019
SailFest Newcastle day 1
Hooligan toppled in TP52 opener Anyone who thought the inaugural TP52 Gold Cup would be one-way traffic for Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan didn't factor in a two-way breeze off the Newcastle NSW coastline today, which handed Sam Hayne's Celestial and Peter Wrigley's Koa the major results. Posted on 29 Mar 2019
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERCyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERRS Sailing 2020 - Summer Offer - FOOTER