Please select your home edition
Ovington Boats - VX One

Sail Port Stephens - Day 2

by Mark Rothfield 10 Apr 2018 11:16 BST 9-15 April 2018
Sail Port Stephens - Day 2 © Mark Rothfield

It was island time for day two of the Commodores Cup, as a 10-knot sou-easter allowed crews to get a taste of the blue waters and surfing beaches off Port Stephens.

Starting off Nelson Bay breakwall, the popular Three Islands course took the 78-boat fleet on a scenic loop around Cabbage Tree, Boondelbah and Little islands located just outside the heads.

Conditions once again favoured the slippery, light-displacement boats, with Pittwater's Showtime (Mark Griffith and Campbell Letchford) claiming its second line-honours/handicap double to stretch its lead in Division 1.

The Ker 40 crossed the line over nine minutes clear of the fleet to stay ahead of the PHS handicapper. Second across the line was Anthony Paterson's giant killing Melges 32 Tow Truck, which kept the 61-footer Margaret Rintoul V and canting-keeled Farr 36 Toy Story at bay.

Michael Rowe's nine-metre Bullet claimed second on Division 1 PHS, edging out Cronulla yacht Sea Hawk. The result, however, moved Sea Hawk, an IMS-era Farr 44, to second overall in the division after yesterday's 2nd placing.

"We're having an amazing run with this boat, certainly sailing a lot better than last year," skipper Peter Van Ryn said. "We replaced our 11-year-old mainsail this year and the boat has more power now, but we're still surprised at how well we've gone in the light."

The yacht is one of four from Port Hacking and Van Ryn is loving the week of racing. "Why wouldn't we?" he added. "It's such a nice regatta and they run it so well."

Tow Truck is sitting third in Division 1 on PHS with nine points.

Division 2 had another lightweight bolter in the Melges 24 Knot Ready, which has been chartered from host club Corlette Point Sailing Association.

Skippering today was Brendan Brown, an expat Australian who has lived in Zurich, Switzerland, for the past 20 years. Also on board is high school mate Adam Manders, along with Fletcher Johnson and Graeme Dunlop from Melbourne.

"I thought I'd come here to escape the cold," Brown said. "It' fantastic to be here, especially with the warm temperatures. Last week in Switzerland I couldn't antifoul my own boat [a J24] because it never got warmer than nine degrees."

The passage race formula enabled the crew to get the trim right and maintain boat speed. Surfing home under kite they hit a top speed of 9.3 knots in 10 knots of breeze, holding off a Melges 32 until just before the finish.

The crew are using the Commodores Cup as tune-up before the Australian Sports Boat Association Nationals start at Sail Port Stephens on Friday, taking turns on the helm to see who works best in the different roles.

With one race remaining, the Division 2 overall leaders are Amante on four points, Austral on eight, and Excapade on 10.

Gosford's All Our Girls, a Southern Ocean 32, triumphed in Division 3 after posting a 14th in Race 1, edging out Derek Sheppard's tiny Spider 22 Black Sheep, which was a creditable third over the line.

It moved the consistent Black Sheep to the Division 3 lead with one race remaining.

"The weather was favourable for us today because the bigger boats struggled to get through the swells at the heads," Sheppard said. "One thing we noticed though, being half the size of everyone else, is that we just about got lost in the troughs."

Sheppard, from Port Kembla, has downsized from a Beneteau 45 for this year's regatta. "I sold the big Black Sheep about six weeks ago. We didn't know exactly what we wanted to buy next, but we knew we couldn't miss Sail Port Stephens," he added.

"We thought the Spider would be a bit of fun to play around on in this regatta and the 50th anniversary Marlay Point regatta. That said, we were a bit worried this morning when none of us could move after one race in five knots of breeze."

Black Sheep sits on five points from Clean Sweep on eight and Macscap on nine.

All division outcomes can potentially change with tomorrow's final Commodore's Cup race.

Find out more at

Related Articles

2018 Sail Port Stephens day 7
Huey has the final say After six days of sublime sunshine and sailing, a wild westerly has put paid to any further racing across all divisions, leaving overnight results standing. Posted on 15 Apr 2018
2018 Sail Port Stephens day 6
Super Saturday of Sail Port Stephens 2018 was as good as it gets If you like your sailing fast and flat, with uninhabited islands and surfing beaches added for good measure, then Super Saturday of Sail Port Stephens 2018 was as good as it gets. Posted on 14 Apr 2018
NSW IRC Championship day 1
Patrice toasts champagne conditions at Sail Port Stephens Fittingly for a fleet boasting Wild Oats X for the first time, the NSW IRC Championships at Sail Port Stephens enjoyed champagne sailing conditions on the offshore race course for three windward-leeward races on day one. Posted on 13 Apr 2018
Snakes and ladders for Super 12 opener
Fleet opts for a pair of inshore passage races at Sail Port Stephens Start one was spirited, with parentage aspersions cast as a handful of boats running the line on starboard greeted those making a more direct port start. Posted on 13 Apr 2018
Sail Port Stephens primed for serious silverware
Thoroughbreds tugging at their mooring lines for the weekend racing Some 120 yachts are tugging at their mooring lines like thoroughbreds, and a race track commonly described as Australia's best is perfectly groomed just in time for tomorrow's start of Sail Port Stephens Part 2. Posted on 12 Apr 2018
Classic nor'easter to close Commodore's Cup
More great racing at Sail Port Stephens The final day of the Commodore's Cup, the cruising focussed part of Sail Port Stephens, came to a close yesterday in classic nor'easter conditions. Posted on 12 Apr 2018
Sail Port Stephens - Commodores Cup finale
Showtime steals the show in a cracking breeze The wind gods summoned a cracking breeze for the Sail Port Stephens fleet contesting the Commodores Cup – a six-knot northerly at the start, building to around 18 knots mid-race as a remnant and reminder of summers past. Posted on 11 Apr 2018
Sweet sou'easter sees sailors head offshore
Day two of the Commodore's Cup at Sail Port Stephens Day two of the Commodore's Cup at Sail Port Stephens did not disappoint with all 87 yachts heading upwind and offshore in a sweet little sou'easter. Posted on 11 Apr 2018
Stunning opener for Sail Port Stephens
Nic Douglass catches the action as 87 yachts take to the water What a stunning opening day for Sail Port Stephens in 2018 with 87 yachts taking to the water for the cruising divisions racing the Commodore's Cup through until Wednesday Posted on 10 Apr 2018
Sail Port Stephens day 1
It's showtime for the hot fleet Belying a tropical 30-degree heatwave, Sail Port Stephens 2018 got off to a chilled start today in light and fickle westerly winds that preceded a late afternoon glass-out. Posted on 9 Apr 2018