Please select your home edition
Sailingfast 2018 728x90

Sail Port Stephens Passage Series Overall

by Sail Port Stephens Media 21 Apr 06:02 BST 15-20 April 2024
Sail Port Stephens Passage Series - Virago 1st Div 1 © Promocean Media

With only a few points separating rivals across each of the five divisions contesting the Sail Port Stephens Passage Series (Commodores Cup PHS), the prospect of receiving a thorough rinsing in the rain didn't deter the bulk of the 115-strong fleet from turning out.

An outgoing tide and a light upwind start resulted in a boat jam at the pin end of the line, with some forced to go around and re-start. Robert Kelly's RP52 Virago from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, with Andrew Parkes calling tactics, led the fleet on the inshore course to the Corlette Mark and then on what was effectively several windward/leewards before hosting the kite for the final run to the finish at Nelson Bay.

Virago's handicap result of 12.5 for the race was enough to ensure they secured the Commodores Cup for Division 1, with Little Nico not far behind in second and Peter Byford's Mylius 50 Daguet 2 rounding-out the podium in third.

"We're over the moon, really pleased," said Andrew Parkes. "We've made modifications that have improved the boat's light- and medium-air performance - a longer keel fin and smaller bulb," he revealed. "We also had Wade Morgan [America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran] help us with some rig tuning, every little bit helped," he added.

Division Two saw a close battle between Drew and Peter Van Ryn's Farr 44 Sea Hawk and Lisa Callaghan's well-campaigned Sydney 38 Mondo, with Sea Hawk from the Cronulla Sailing Club acquiring more Sail Port Stephens silverware for the cabinet, while Peter Farrugia's Bull 9000 Bullwinkle put in a strong performance in third.

Ralf Moller and his mates from the Avalon Sailing Club didn't cross the start line in Kookaburra, his Hanse 400, till five minutes after the gun but managed to claw their way back into contention, and their third place ensured they captured top honours in Division 3. "We stayed focused, picked the shifts - I guess that's one advantage of having boats in front of you," he recounted.

"We've been here (Sail Port Stephens) twice before, we did really rubbish last time round, the boat's set up better now, we had a good crew and everything went our way," he explained. Absolut, an Archambault A35 was consistent all week and was rewarded with second, and local knowledge aboard Ataraxia II from Newcastle paid dividends, seeing them pick-up third.

The crew of Midnight's Promise, a Jeanneau 37, used to reading the vagaries of the shifts on Pittwater, applied that knowledge to good use in the regatta's mainly light airs, and sailed to a comprehensive win in Division 4. Marri Nuwi and Majella, clubmates from the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Port Hacking ended the week separated by one point, with Marri Nuwi posting a second and Majella third.

In the Non-Spinnaker Division the Making Waves Foundation's crew aboard MWF Joy were thrilled with their win on a countback over Russell Waddy's Allsail Leeward, a Beneteau First 40 from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. MWF Joy's skipper Ian Murray praised his senior crew including sailing master Bridget Canham of Currawong fame who co-ordinated a changing daily roster on the Sayer 45.

The winner in Division 1 of the Port Stephens Trophy sailed under ORC was Garry Holt's Corby 36 Let's Get it On, just ahead of the always competitive Indi owned by former CYCA Commodore Noel Cornish. Division 2 ORC winner was Simon Grosser's Young 88 Young at Heart, with Organised Chaos and Georgia Lee second and third respectively.

Regatta Director Paul O'Rourke declared the 17th Sail Port Stephens as the "best ever" and agreed the social side of the iconic regatta received an extra boost with the Street Party held the night before lay day, attracting a big crowd of sailors and locals who enjoyed the live entertainment and friendly atmosphere.

He urged anyone thinking of coming to 2025 Sail Port Stephens to get in early and reserve a berth for the Passage Series, Monday March 31 to Saturday April 5.

At last night's presentation, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington confirmed that the NSW Government, via Destination NSW, will continue its long-standing commitment to the event.

Sail Port Stephens is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism agency Destination NSW, Port Stephens Council, Pantaenius Australia and subsidiary sponsors.

Quick Links:

Related Articles

Revised dates & format for Sail Port Stephens 2023
The iconic Commodores Cup series is being extended to five days Sail Port Stephens (SPS) is revamping its event schedule and revising dates for racing in April and May 2023, having outgrown the previous week-long format that remained largely unchanged since its inception in 2008. Posted on 30 Sep 2022
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 2022
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 2022
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 2022
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 2022
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 2022
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 2022
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