Please select your home edition
Edition
Melges IC37 2019 Leaderboard
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine


Full racing risks
New for old cover
www.noblemarine.co.uk
Product Feature
WEST SYSTEM speciality epoxies
WEST SYSTEM speciality epoxies

Fluky conditions set stage for intriguing finale at Sail Port Stephens

by Lisa Ratcliff 14 Apr 02:05 BST 8-14 April 2019

Sail Port Stephens' penultimate day threw up another mixed bag for the 150-boat fleet contesting various divisions and class titles at the 12th annual sailing regatta over the perfect opening weekend of the NSW school holidays.

From the Salamander Bay course for the sports boats and VXs past the Nelson Bay breakwater where Performance Cruising and Racing plus Super 12s began their offshore crawl and out to the deep ocean courses for the Garmin IRC NSW Championship, race management teams responded fluidly to the fluky conditions, the result of a large high pressure system sitting over New South Wales.

On the opening Friday of the Pantaenius Yacht Insurance Port Stephens Trophy, the Australian Sports Boat and VX One NSW championship fleets staunched the best of a dark and moody light-air day on their inshore Salamander Bay racetrack.

On Saturday April 13 it was the minis' turn to float around in brilliant sunshine for hours after the morning land breeze collapsed as the last of the VXs ghosted across the finish line in the only race of the day. When race officer Steve Kidson eventually signaled no more racing, crews cheered enthusiastically and headed to their Soldiers Point base.

Malcolm Dean's Shaw 650 The Stig added a third corrected time win to their impressive day one tally, keeping the Lake Macquarie crew at the top of the sports boat scorecard from Andrew York's Reo Speedwagon in second.

Sports Boat Association secretary Jamie Berndt dialled in some better light air speed to have a markedly improved day with his Shaw 650 Situation Normal. "It will come down to the wire tomorrow for the top boats," Berndt said. "The Stig is sailing really well to be up with the 7 half metre boats, and ReTuned has also performed well, but Reo Speedwagon is certainly not out of it either. We all got together for a few drinks in the boat ramp carpark after the race; there's a really good atmosphere among the sports boats."

A third win from four starts keeps the Joel McDonald skippered Supervax 24/7 narrowly in the VX One NSW state title lead, Brian Case's Geelong based Slick second, on equal points with first, and Andrew 'Dolly' Divola's Bombora third overall.

Offshore the Garmin NSW IRC Championship division 1 fleet managed one full windward/leeward race in 6-8 knots of WSW breeze while divisions 2 and 3 had their short course race shortened when conditions went funky. Race 3, in even lighter sou'easters, was also shortened and a planned race 4 didn't happen, bringing about another change of schedule for the final day of racing, on Sunday April 14.

Gordon Ketelbey's TP52 Zen leads division 1 results by one point from Mark Griffith's Ker 40 Showtime. "It was a very hard – a tactician's nightmare – but it went the way we wanted," Ketelbey said after racing. "It's a brand new TP52 on the circuit and we are doing pretty well. There are some hard boats to challenge out there."

IRC division 2 lead boat is Joe de Kock's Farr 40 Good Form, the Newcastle skipper happy to admit "the Farr 40s go well in light airs. It was such a nice day...it's always nice if you are going well."

IRC division 3 looks to be in the hands of Dale Sharp's Sofarr – three corrected time wins putting the Lake Macquarie Farr 31 in a comfortable position going into the final day when competitors may be granted marginal respite. The outlook is a maximum eight maybe nine knots out of the south east.

Performance Racing divisions and Super 12s led the passage race out of the craggy heads at Port Stephens – the ultra-modern red, black, grey and white colour scheme of the MC38s, Little Nico - the eventual Performance Racing division 1 winner - and Ian Oatley's Q paving the way for the colour explosion of the larger Performance Cruising divisions under spinnaker behind.

Performance Racing division 1 is all tied up at the top, Drew Garnett's Fareast 28R Valkyrie holding a half point margin to Michael Rowe's Bull 9000 Bullet and hot on their sterns is Gerrit Veenemans' Queensland Fareast 28R.

Course 4 took the bigger boats around Little Island, Fingal Mark and Cabbage Tree island and with the breeze disappearing, Performance Cruising divisions 2 and 3 had their course shortened. Those divisions not able to be shortened in time were granted a time limit extension by the race committee.

Full results for all divisions racing at the 12th Sail Port Stephens proudly supported by Destination NSW and Port Stephens Council are available here.

For more information visit event website or Facebook page.

More videos available here and for action-shots click here.

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
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