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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Sail Port Stephens Passage Series Day 2

by Sail Port Stephens Media 16 Apr 06:15 PDT 15-20 April 2024
Sail Port Stephens Passage Series Day 2 © Promocean Media

Island views, balmy sunshine and sublime sailing conditions

The best aspects of regatta sailing crystallised for the record fleet contesting the second day of the Passage Series (Commodores Cup). It turned-out to be a highly memorable day of threading out through the Port Stephens Heads and around the course's spectacular offshore islands, before a champagne run under spinnaker back to the finish off d'Albora Marina.

With a variable eight to ten knot south-westerly breeze providing a significant boost from the previous day, shoreline spectators were treated to the sight of Division 1 leaders Virago, Little Nico and Dirty Deeds powering off the start line with asymmetric spinnakers.

Virago a R/P 52 from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and owned by Robert Kelly stretched her legs on the 20 plus nautical mile scenic tour sailed by the bulk of the 115 strong fleet, and claimed a coveted double; line and handicap honours in 2 hours 12 minutes, and 39 seconds. Dirty Deeds a Botin & Carkeek GP 42 from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club post a big improvement from yesterday's 15th to take second, while Little Nico rounded-out the podium.

Unfortunately, a knee injury meant Virago's owner Robert Kelly, a Sail Port Stephens regular, couldn't be on-board for today's win but tactician Andrew Parkes described the race as a "glamour day", adding "it's like a mini Hammo (Hamilton Island Race Week) here, you're racing around the islands with tide and current. It's interesting tactically and you have to be on the right part of the course at the right time to capitalise," he explained.

Virago's average upwind speed of around 8.5 knots made for a very pleasant day's outing but Parkes rated the VMG running on the downwind leg from the Box Beach mark to Cabbage Tree Island as the highlight of the race.

It was obviously the fast boats' day with Michael Stuart's C&C30 One Design Let's Go securing double honours in Division 2 from Matt Bonser's Watch Me with well-known Farr 44 Sea Hawk owned by Pete and Drew van Ryn.

Division Three winner was Absolut an Archambault A35 from Peter Mumford's Beneteau First 36 Carte Blanche with Gerald Morcombe's J/99 Echo less than a minute behind on corrected time in third.

Split, a Salona 35 triumphed in Division 4 thanks to slick crew work and the input of "my therapist", according to owner Antony Henderson. He also apportioned credit to a "series of good decisions with some luck in the flukey Port Stephens wind pocket." Majella, David Cartmer's Elan 31 was a solid second, while the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club counted another podium with Kyle Handcock's Neverland's third place.

MWF-Joy and Allsail Leeward fought out a repeat of Day 1's positions in the Non Spinnaker Division, holding down first and second respectively with Elara a Beneteau Oceanis 321 moving-up the board from yesterday's seventh.

Sailors could enjoy another dose of Sail Port Stephens perfection tomorrow with similar light conditions and sunshine forecast for Day 3 ahead of lay day on Thursday.

Sail Port Stephens is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism agency Destination NSW, Port Stephens Council, Pantaenius Australia and subsidiary sponsors.

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