Please select your home edition
Edition
GJW Direct 2020

Sail Port Stephens - Day 6

by Mark Rothfield 24 Apr 12:53 BST 19-25 April 2021

Super Saturday sail-ebration was one to remember

Tomorrow we honour the Anzac legend and our selfless service men and women. Today, however, was all about remembering the legacy of Roger "Hicko" Hickman, Sail Port Stephens mentor and ambassador, with a Super Saturday 'Sail-ebration' involving around 180 boats, great and small.

They were packed five deep off Nelson Bay breakwall, spinnakers radiating in the sunlight if not exactly straining under the late-morning westerly. There were four more starts offshore in the Fingal basin for the NSW IRC Championship and Performance Racing Division 1 thoroughbreds.

All headed seawards for what's traditionally the Broughton Island passage race.

The Performance Cruising Division 1 crews were the most willing, bowsprits and gunwales clashing like titans as six yachts aimed for one pin. They'll remain nameless as no serious damage was done.

Inshore, meanwhile, the Australian Sports Boat Association completed a solitary windward-leeward before embarking on a passage race, while Olympic-class Finns, Windsurfers, Sabots and a smattering of Lasers joined the Bay Sailing Centre's first fully-fledged Sail Port Stephens Off-the-Beach regatta.

All that was lacking was the breeze, which turned to a breath before dying altogether. And then we sat or, in the case of Finn sailors, lay - basking in the autumnal sunlight - while a sou'easterly gradually got its act together.

Unfortunately, a percentage of the yacht fleet failed to finish within the time limit.

The IRC Division 1 boats were least affected, thanks to their inherent power and large sail wardrobe. Whisper was first home, albeit its lead was whittled away when it fell into a drifter near the finish. It allowed Sebastian Bohm, owner of Smuggler, to take the handicap victory from Celestial and Ichi Ban.

"It was a tough day out there, but we managed to find some good shifts and pressure," Bohm said. "The other guys built up quite a big lead on the first leg to Broughton, but we somehow managed to pull them back - it was the comeback of the year.

"We had to fight for every puff basically. The crew work was flawless, and the tactics were perfect today."

The Smuggler team are happily ensconced in two waterfront houses at Salamander Bay and, according to Bohm, are absolutely loving it: "It's our favourite regatta on the calendar and we've booked this set-up for the next five years I think," he said.

With two races still to be sailed tomorrow, Ichi Ban leads Celestial and Smuggler in the overall battle for the NSW title - their points after four races being 7, 9, 11 respectively.

Division 2 IRC saw Gerry Hatton's Mat 1245 Bushranger make its move up the scoreboard with a race win today, however a second placing by Soozal allowed it to retain the lead. Checkmate of Hollywood holds third place overall.

It was a familiar story, though, in Division 3 IRC as Sofarr again proved so good. The Farr 31 is on five points, 12 clear of the Adams 10 Get It On.

On ORC, Ichi Ban, Soozal and Cicero are leading their respective divisions.

The NSW title for the Australian Sports Boat Association appears to be heading to South Lake Macquarie with Malcolm Dean, with only a final day of windward-leewards still to play.

His Shaw 650 The Stig won its fourth consecutive windward-leeward race today before having a rare slip in the passage race, defeated mostly by the fickle breeze.

A 2-1 by Wild Huntress, owned by Michael Brierley, edged the Elliott 7 into a tie with Re-Heat, Luke Ratcliff, on 15 points.

Newcastle yacht Mako, skippered by Tim Dodds, maintained its lead in Performance Racing Division 1 after posting a 4th today, the gap to Challenge and Corum closing slightly. The One Design 35 Khaleesi took the day's honours.

The Fareast 28R Chicken Lips from the NSW town of Wagga Wagga had its best day in Performance Racing 2, winning the start and weaving through the tricky offshore conditions to claim victory. Gerrit Veenemans, aboard Fareast 28R, slipped into second place and now has a comfortable lead over Bullwinkle and Wilding.

In other results, the three Performance Cruising divisions are being led by Quest 3, Jab and Joji. None is comfortably home, however, as each division has more than 20 entries.

Off-the-Beach Regatta

Racing in the Olympic-class Finn division of the Off-the-Beach regatta didn't get under way until after 3pm - and ultimately only one race could be completed before the light faded.

Crews lazed in the sun until a 5-8 knot sou-easter finally filled the bay. Sydney sailor Rob McMillan on NB Sailsports and Pittwater's Matt Visser, aboard ANIKA, then took first blood in the state-of-origin battle with a strong Queensland contingent. David Bull's Wombat was the best of the northerners in third.

McMillian's winning margin was over 2 minutes in a race of 45-minute duration.

The Windsurfer fleet had more luck with the NSW Slalom Championship as 'pumping' is allowed. Winners were Mel Webb in Lightweight, Chris Thompson in a tie-break in Medium-Weight, Matthew Hinault in Heavyweight and Simon Jones in Super Heavyweight.

All classes and divisions are expected to fare better tomorrow as a 12-14 knot sou'easter is predicted to hit overnight. The Windsurfers are planning a marathon sail to Shoal Bay while the Finns will focus on windward-leewards.

An Anzac service is scheduled for Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, around 10.30am tomorrow, however an impromptu dawn service is being planned by some of the veterans among the crews and race committee, starting 6am in Apex Park opposite d'Albora Marina Nelson Bay. All competitors and their families are welcomed to attend.

Port Stephens Trophy Results: www.topyacht.net.au/results/2021/sps/index.htm

Off-the-Beach Results: (inc Finn under Scratch) app.sailsys.com.au/club/98/results/series/1015/races/8194?handicap=3&boat=4922

Stay up-to-date with Sail Port Stephens news and results via the event website www.sailportstephens.com.au or www.facebook/sailportstephens.

Sail Port Stephens 2021 is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism agency Destination NSW, along with Port Stephens Council and key sponsors Pantaenius Insurance, Alloggio, Bannisters Port Stephens and Flagstaff Marine.

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