Please select your home edition
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - Top 728 x 90px - 004 gif

Flying TP52 start sets for perfect finish at SailFest Newcastle Regatta

by Mark Rothfield 11 Apr 2021 02:27 PDT 10-11 April 2021

Newcastle Harbour has hosted sailing regattas for over 175 years, but never has it witnessed a sight more exciting or nail-biting than this - eight grand-prix TP52s planing across the line under spinnaker, fanned by 25 knots of wild, wild sou-westerly.

It was the perfect start to the closing day of Sailfest Newcastle 2021, especially for spectators and probably the crews - not so much for the guys writing the cheques, nor the winches that were audibly groaning under the load.

That said, the well-oiled machines and racing teams displayed remarkable control and faith as they accelerated to 20+ knots within metres of each other's gunwales and further confined by breakwall rocks, shipping marks and the Queens Wharf pub, where punters watched in awe.

Ultimately it was Tony Kirby's Patrice that got the jump, the black stallion holding windward advantage and galloping 150 metres ahead on the run to the port's entrance. From there, the Botin-designed 52 stretched its legs in clear air over the 24 nautical mile passage course, beating Matt Allen's Ichi Ban by a sufficient margin to win overall IRC honours via countback.

Tony Kirby: "We got a great start and were just able to skim past the port marker. We hit the lead then extended it. Downwind we were hitting the high 20s - they're awesome boats in these conditions, just so fast."

Matt Allen lamented a few lost chances for Ichi Ban but was rapt with its performance and the regatta format.

"It was one of those days when you had to execute cleanly, and we didn't quite manage to do that," he said. "We had a problem with a jammer at the start and got caught up in the pack. I guess we made too many mistakes overall, but we're really pleased with how the boat's going.

"Sailing out there in that sort of breeze is incredibly exciting. Also, everyone's so welcoming and relaxed up here. We love coming."

The TP52 Gold Cup, awarded on the class's TPR handicapping system, went to Quest after overnight leader Smuggler posted a 4th today.

"It's such a great event to have so many TPs here and, as far as the start goes, I'm not sure about 175 years but it was the most exciting I've been involved with," owner Craig Neil said as he held his trophy aloft.

"Yesterday was tough with the shifting breezes but today really suited us - a strong breeze and a course that provided a mix of upwind, reaching and running. It had everything. Our boat was designed for offshore racing so we were really in our element."

Smuggler claimed second place, owner Sebastian Bohm also buzzing about the lively conditions.

"That was heart-in-the-mouth stuff," he said. "As soon as the gun went, a gust of 25 to 30 knots came through and we were absolutely flying down the harbour. We had Ichi Ban and Matador above us, and Quest and Celestial below us, so it was fairly intense but great fun.

"Once we gybed out of the harbour and worked upwind it became pretty full-on. We saw a gust of 38 knots. We had some kite issues and blew up our A4 [gennaker], then it became touch and go under our A2 in those conditions."

Celestial withdrew with gear damage, while Denali's owner, Damien Parkes, retired once the breeze increased: "We did the first run and clocked 25 knots, which is plenty, but it was gear-breaking stuff on the second work and we decided it wasn't worth it for a weekend of fun," Parkes said.

In the Offshore series run in conjunction with the Gold Cup, PHS honours went to Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club's Summer Salt, helmed today by Peter Sinclair, ahead of Anger Management and Mako. Overnight leader Little Nico retired from the race, as did NCYC Commodore Steve Rae aboard Marta Jean.

Full results here.

Next year's Sailfest Newcastle Regatta is tentatively set for March 25-27. Sponsors for 2021 included the City of Newcastle, Transport NSW, Bolle, Musto and Heineken.

*For updates on the Sailing Champions League Asia Pacific Finals, see

Related Articles

Australian Yachting Championships hosts announced
Intentionally setting the schedule for this significant event well in advance The Australian Yachting Championships are set to be run alongside some of Australia's biggest keelboat regattas after Australian Sailing today locked in the host clubs of the event for the next four years. Posted on 10 Jun
Season Wrap and upcoming regatta
Farr 40 25th Year Anniversary Regatta is on May 7-8 and expect a double digit fleet to attend Having navigated the last few years of global turbulence and uncertainly, the Farr 40's are back in action and ready to write the next chapter in the class's esteemed history. Posted on 2 Apr
SailFest Newcastle overall
Gweilo claims SailFest TP52 series after Ichi Ban breach IRC honours for a hard-fought City of Newcastle TP52 Gold Cup were decided in the protest room tonight, with Ichi Ban being disqualified from the fourth and deciding race for a pre-start rule breach. Posted on 27 Mar
SailFest Newcastle Day 1
Slow start but breezy finish A good story is supposed to have what English teachers call a sizzling start, but the wind gods had other ideas today for Race 1 of the Sailfest Newcastle Regatta Offshore Series, supported by City of Newcastle and Transport for NSW. Posted on 26 Mar
Newcastle Harbour steeled for keelboat action
SailFest Newcastle Regatta brings a smorgasbord of world-class sailing to NSW's Hunter Region Few cities in Australia, let alone the world, allow spectators to stroll the waterfront and watch international match-racing and high-performance catamarans and skiffs in action on the harbour, grand-prix ocean racers off its beaches Posted on 25 Mar
Tasmanians look to go back-to-back
With new-look team in 2022 SAILING Champions League The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania will be looking to continue its form from last year and be crowned the SAILING Champions League winners for the second year running. Posted on 25 Mar
New clubhouse facilities at NCYC
Among Australia's best in size and style Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) now has clubhouse facilities to rival the best in Australia in terms of size and style, following the opening of its Stage 3 harbourfront development. Posted on 21 Oct 2021
SAILING Champions League-Asia Pacific Finals dates
The event returns to the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club after a successful effort last season The event returns to the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club after a successful effort last season that saw the SAILING Champions League: Asia Pacific become part of the iconic SailFest event. Posted on 29 Jun 2021
Can You Feel It?
Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Some of the names that went into included the exceptionally talented, and most sought after Greg Phillinganes on ivories, and then one Venetta Fields. Posted on 11 Apr 2021
SAILING Champions League Final overall
Tasmanians heralded kings and queens of Newcastle The Royal YC of Tasmania has claimed the 'best sailing club' crown, their exemplary crew work in gusty westerlies and ability to strategise under pressure landing the young team the coveted SAILING Champions League: Asia Pacific open win in Newcastle. Posted on 11 Apr 2021
RS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERSOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 BottomDoyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 BOTTOM