Please select your home edition
Edition
Allen Brothers

Sail Port Stephens primed for the serious silverware

by Mark Rothfield 12 Apr 2018 12:07 BST 9-15 April 2018
Sail Port Stephens © Mark Rothfield

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.

With the cruisy Commodores Cup done and dusted, attention now turns to the serious silverware on offer for the Garmin NSW IRC Championships, Australian Sports Boat Association nationals, Super 12 State Championship, and the Pantaenius Port Stephens trophy for Cruising and Racing divisions.

A notable apology is Sail Port Stephens patron Matt Allen, whose Hobart-winning Botin 52 Ichi Ban missed its delivery deadline due to relentless sou-east headwinds pounding Gladstone.

The juicy prospect of a head-to-head battle with Marcus Blackmore's Botin-designed TP52 Hooligan will have to wait until another day. Regardless, the 22-strong IRC fleet is arguably the best assembled in Sail Port Stephen's 11-year history.

Wild Oats X is lining up for the prestigious IRC championship for the first time, having long been an event supporter with their wines. Sandy Oatley's canting-keeled Reichel-Pugh 66, representing Hamilton Island Yacht Club and Royal Prince Alfred, will be firm line-honours favourite in Division 1.

"We've been watching this regatta grow for a number of years now," program manager Paul Magee says. "We are really excited to be competing there this year, especially after a great race south to Hobart."

Botin is also represented by Ray Roberts' 40-footer Team Hollywood, while other big-name contenders include Bob Steel's MAT 1180 Quest, division 2 title defender Nine Dragons (Bob Cox), the Rogers 46 Smuggler owned by Sebastian Bohm and Ian Box aboard Toy Box 2.

The Sailors with disAbilities TP52 Wot Eva, skippered by David Pescud, will compete in Performance Racing. There are 18 entries in the division, scaling down to a pair of Melges 32s and including Jim and Mary Holley's evergreen Farr IOR 40 Aurora.

Performance Cruising is the largest category with 51 starters across two divisions – many of the Commodores Cup boats are making a full week of it.

The record 16-strong NSW Super 12 fleet is set to welcome two super-sized newcomers – the Corby 43 Anger Management and Judel Vorlijk 42 Elena Nova. At the opposite end of the scale are four Fareast 28rs in their strongest class showing at Sail Port Stephens.

In the sports boats, meanwhile, Andrew York is defending his hard-won national title aboard Reo Speedwagon and facing strong competition from the Viper 640 helmed by Tyler Ratcliffe, boatbuilder Brett van Munster's Boatspeed 23, and a clutch of Melges 24s.

Three J70s are making their Port Stephens debut – Tim Ryan's James, Reg Lord's Juno and Stephen Brady's YKnot, all from Sydney.

Strong westerlies today have flattened the offshore course and moderate north-nor'east breezes are predicted for tomorrow, with summer-like temperatures of around 30 degrees. The winds will swing to the northwest at around 15 knots for Saturday's passage race to Broughton Island, nine miles off the Port Stephens Heads.

Racing concludes on Sunday, April 15.

Find out more at www.sailportstephens.com.au

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
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
Sail Port Stephens day 2
Island time as Sail Port Stephens fleet heads offshore 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. Posted on 10 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