Please select your home edition
Edition
McConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 LEADERBOARD

Sail Port Stephens - Day 5

by Mark Rothfield 23 Apr 2021 13:08 BST 19-25 April 2021
SoFarr leading - Sail Port Stephens © Salty Dingo

The world would've watched in utter amazement today as 130 yachts lined up for the opening spell of a massive weekend of racing at Sail Port Stephens 2021.

Spinnakers lined the entire bay, cheek and jowl, in a spectacle that turned the clock back to pre-COVID days, further mirrored by a simple post-race sausage sizzle from title sponsors Pantaenius Yacht and Sail Insurance that was appreciated by a horde of hungry sailors.

Among the events under way are the NSW IRC Championships, Australian Sports Boat Association NSW Titles, and Flagstaff Marine Performance Cruising and Racing divisions. Tomorrow, it steps up another gear with an off-the-beach satellite regatta that has attracted a strong fleet of Finns, Sabots and Windsurfers.

That's over 180 boats on the water.

Today, the heavyweights of Division 1 IRC revelled in a challenging westerly breeze, with the TP52 Ichi Ban leading the way after posting three consistent results in shifty conditions - a first in race 1 followed by a pair of seconds. It backed this up with three wins on ORCcI.

Fellow TP52 Celestial lies in second place overall, buoyed by a victory in race 2. David Griffith's Judel-Vrolijk 62 Whisper tore a spinnaker during a drop in race 1 but ended the day third overall, posting a 4, 3 and 5.

Matt Allen, owner-skipper of Ichi Ban, enjoyed being back on one of his all-time favourite race courses off Port Stephens: "I remember Denis [Thompson] and I discovering the track back in my Farr 40 days. It has always offered something special, and today, even if you were on the wrong side of a shift, you could still get out.

"We saw quite a few different wind strengths during the day, but it was still good racing. We had our backs against the wall in race two particularly, but our boat doesn't have too many vices - the crew do, but not the boat."

Division 2 was a more closely contested affair, one point separating the top three. Currently in pole position on eight points, which included two firsts, is Soozal (Keiran Mulcahy) from the DK46 Khaleesi (Rob Aldis/Sandy Farquharson) and classic Peterson 50 IOR Checkmate of Hollywood (Ray Roberts). Soozal also leads ORCi

Fresh from a Commodores Cup win, the Farr 31 Sofarr, owned by Lake Macquarie's Dale Sharp, continued its giant-slaying performance in IRC Division 3 with scores of 2, 1, 1 - it's already eight points ahead of the Sydney 36 Stormaway. Cicero is the overnight leader in ORCcI.

"The wind conditions were just perfect for our little red girl," Sharp said. "We sailed the beats nicely and rounded the top mark first or second in most races. Our downwind course selection could've been better but, overall, we've got to be happy."

Denis Thompson, PRO for Sail Port Stephens, was also impressed with the course today - and the standard of sailing he witnessed from the start boat.

"The breeze was fairly consistent for most of the starts, although it wavered a bit in the gusts," he explained. "On the last leg of race two it became a split breeze and they reached home, and there was nothing I could do about that.

"We shifted course for race 3 and the breeze hung in there around 8-10 knots - it pretty well went according to the last forecast I received."

Honours in Performance Racing, which shared the IRC course, went to Mako, a Sydney 40 with multiple owners and even more regattas under its keel. Today it was helmed by Tim Dodds and won two of the three offshore windward-leewards to lead Shine On and Risk.

Thompson: "The Performance Racing guys had really good racing - I was impressed by the way they started and got around the course. There's a real mixture of boats - some with asymmetrics, some with poles - and it looked like the well-sailed boats did well."

Performance Racing Division 2 shared the inshore course with the Australian Sports Boat Association NSW Titles fleet. Results were subject to protest at the time of writing but showed the Fareast 28R leading from Bullwinkle, a Bull 900, and the Beneteau 34.7 Speedwell.

The Performance Cruising fleet looked spectacular as exited Port Stephens under spinnaker, rounded the offshore islands then headed to the mark off Fingal Bay's white sandy spit. A westerly of around 12-14 knots hung in for their course, with no requirement to shorten.

The Marten 49 Indigo II won line-honours in Division 1 and finished third on PHS behind Brendon Gregg's Quest 3 and Tempo.

Intiy, a Beneteau Figaro3 making its Australian racing debut, was fast out of the blocks after a kite start but needed more breeze to capitalise on its stabilising foils and asymmetric spinnaker. It was 17th across the line and 21st on handicap.

The Aussie commentator's nightmare, La Troisieme Mitemps, claimed Division 2, and Joji leads Division 3.

Australian Sports Boat Association NSW Titles

With three windward-leewards contested today, it was one-way traffic for The Stig in the Australian Sports Boat Association NSW Titles.

Steered by Malcolm Dean, the Shaw 650 showed its class in lighter airs with three runaway wins.

"The races got better and better as we went," Dean said. "That said, we got lucky in race 2 because we all got mixed up with the Performance Racing Division 2 fleet. We were just in front at the time, which meant we missed out on the worst of it.

"There were times when it felt like the others were coming back at us when the wind lines came through but that's always the way. Those sort of lighter conditions suit us."

Despite the dominance of the performance, Re-Heat posted three seconds to sit just three points adrift, so The Stig can't afford to take the foot off the accelerator tomorrow. Wild Huntress, an Elliott 7, holds third place.

Lighter winds are predicted for a day dubbed Super Saturday as, traditionally, the fleet heads seawards towards beautiful Broughton Island. Stay up-to-date with Sail Port Stephens news and results via the event website or Facebook.

Related Articles

Sail Port Stephens overall
Spectacular week of racing comes to fading finish As so often happens in yacht racing, the story is denied a fitting finish due to a lack of wind when it's needed most. And it was certainly the case at Sail Port Stephens today, with a predicted 10-knot sou'easter failing to materialise. Posted on 10 Apr
Sail Port Stephens Day 6
Change as good as a holiday on Sailebration Saturday The best laid schemes of mice, men and race committees often go awry, especially in the fluid environment of yacht racing, and Day 6 of Sail Port Stephens 2022 was one of those days. Posted on 9 Apr
Sail Port Stephens Day 5
Pantaenius Sail Port Stephens Trophy Series off to a bright and breezy start Pessimists were predicting showers and light winds but the optimists and opportunists seized the day as the Pantaenius Sail Port Stephens Trophy Series and NSW Yachting Championships got off to a mostly bright and breezy start. Posted on 8 Apr
Sail Port Stephens Day 3
Commodores Cup finale is yacht racing at its best Queensland has Surfers Paradise, NSW has Sailors Paradise. It's located just outside the headlands of Port Stephens, where a cluster of Hawaiian-style islands from the set of Jurassic Park create an idyllic racecourse for yachts Posted on 6 Apr
Sail Port Stephens Day 2
Postcard conditions as paradise finds some breeze They say history never repeats but a 'lightening' breeze can certainly strike twice, as 120 yachts competing in Sail Port Stephens' Commodores Cup Race 2 discovered today. Posted on 5 Apr
Sail Port Stephens Day 1
Off to gentle start and bunched finish Rarely has there been a parting as sweet as watching 120 yachts slide down a sparkling Port Stephens under spinnaker in Race 1 of the 2022 Bannisters Port Stephens Commodores Cup. Posted on 4 Apr
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