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Sydney Newcastle Race to decide Summer Offshore Series winner

by CYCA/DJ Munro 8 Mar 22:00 PST 20 March 2021
CYCA Treasurer Janey Treleaven (second from right, black jacket) and crew onboard her Beneteau First 45 © Janey Treleaven/Finn

The final event of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's (CYCA) Summer Offshore Series, the Sydney Newcastle Race, is set to challenge crews Saturday 20 March.

The Sydney Newcastle Race will be roughly 100 nautical miles and will send crews from Sydney Harbour to a virtual mark off Anna Bay before they head back for the finish off Newcastle. In the event of light conditions, the course can be shorted to a 65 nautical mile version which is Sydney to Newcastle direct.

The three-race Summer Offshore Series was added to the CYCA's Sailing Program for the first time this year and has so far been a resounding success. The series came to life in response to a hampered racing calendar through 2020 due to COVID safety precautions and offers crews the wonderful opportunity of additional blue water style racing.

"The Summer Offshore Series has been a fantastic way for the Finn crew to come together and get some really good experience prior to kicking off our Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore campaign," said Janey Treleaven, CYCA Treasurer and owner of the Beneteau First 45 Finn.

"We are really excited for the upcoming Sydney Newcastle Race as it's a destination race and, being a 7 pm start, we're looking forward to finishing during the day and not drifting through the heads!

"[CYCA] Youth Sailing Academy alumni Jess Grimes has once again pulled together a 50 per cent youth crew from the Youth Sailing Academy who are also looking forward to gaining some great blue water experience before we take on the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July."

Kim Jagger, owner of the Sydney 38 Cinquante, is another owner who is relishing the opportunity of additional offshore racing.

"My crew and I were attracted to competing in the Summer Offshore Series in the first instance because the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race had been cancelled and we felt we had been denied our annual rite of passage of a race south," said Kim.

"Once the series began, it took on its own logic. It is self-contained, It falls in between Hobart and the Winter Series, and it wasn't just a one-off 90 miler to finish off the summer. Even though we were entered in the CYCA's Ocean Pointscore, we felt the Summer Offshore Series suited our boat as it was already set up for long-distance ocean racing."

Of the tricky conditions experienced in the two races so far, Kim said, "Despite the wind dying out for smaller yachts in both races so far, we have enjoyed the challenge of the series."

Many of the Series' podium positions are currently separated by just one or two points so everything will come down to the Sydney Newcastle Race. You can catch all the action on CYCA's website, Facebook page and Instagram as pictures and video from the rail are sent in by competitors.

The CYCA would like to thank Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) for their ongoing support and as the race's Finishing Partner. The CYCA and NCYC enjoy reciprocal Membership rights and Members are welcomed to visit each Club anytime.

NCYC is located in the heart of Newcastle Harbour at 95 Hannell St, Wickham, and offers an array of wonderful facilities including a 180 berth marina. The Club is open for coffee at 8 am, serves breakfast from 8:30 to 10:30 am and the bar is open from 10 am.

The Summer Offshore Series so far

The Summer Offshore Series began with the Flinders Islet Race in early February 2021 which tested crews in flukey, gusty conditions. Matt Donald and Chris Townsend's TP52 Gweilo and Carl Crafoord's Cookson 12 Sail Exchange were the best on the day, clinching the IRC Division 1 and 2 honours respectively.

The Virtual Mark Race was the next in the series and marked a first for CYCA with teams racing around virtual waypoints rather than fixed marks. CYCA Director Sam Haynes' TP52 Celestial won IRC Division 1 and Sail Exchange was triumphant once again in Division 2.

View the current overall pointscore standings here.

Given the success of the series so far and the positive feedback received, the CYCA will be looking to continue and build on the Summer Offshore Series into 2022 and beyond.

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