- Overview of Series descriptions and feedback (race format offshore).
- Context and Strategic direction for 2018/19 program.
- Feedback on Program.
- Offshore Fleet Captain nominations.
On the third day, the wind gods summoned a cracking breeze for the Sail Port Stephens fleet contesting the Commodores Cup – a 6-knot northerly at the start, building to around 18 knots mid-race as a remnant and reminder of summers past.
Course 9 was race officer Denis Thompson’s call, sending the largest-ever Cup fleet running down harbour under spinnakers and full sun, past the picturesque Anchorage Marina, then onto a triangular track in Salamander Bay.
After two days of relatively light airs and chop, it suited those with longer waterlines and a penchant for power reaching. Crew work also came to the fore as the 78 yachts descended on the marks in tight packs.
Starting the final day of Commodores Cup action, the Division 1 ball was firmly in the court of Pittwater flyer Showtime after two commanding and consecutive line-honour/handicap doubles, with daylight second.
Today, the Ker 40 had a slowish start at the breakwall end of the line but used its speed dominance to quickly slip through the field. When they saw the stronger breeze coming in they tactically gybed over to it and virtually ran to the leeward mark.
The crew tuned the boat into overdrive for the final beat, hitting 8.2 knots upwind.
“The guys did very, very well all three races,” co-owner Mark Griffith said. “We’ve started celebrating already down on the dock – I think we’re up to our sixth bottle of champagne and the music is blaring. Having a good time.”
Showtime was 12 minutes clear of Margaret Rintoul V across the line, and they finished the same way on PHS overall. Warwick Millers Beneteau 50 Lumiere, with Alby Pratt and Mitch White calling shots, took the win today to move into third overall.
Other bragging rights today went to Schouten Passage, with an all-women crew representing Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, finishing second from Brendan Gregg’s Quest 3.
Dennis Cooper’s Sydney 36 Amante, the overnight clubhouse leader in Division 2 with a slender 4-point margin, also became slightly buried at the start before edging into clean air. Nearest rival Austral, a Sydney 38, got away cleanly and the building nor-east seabreeze also brought third-placed Northshore NS-X Excapade well into the frame.
Media Release 13 April 2018
Event: Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta January 2 – 9, 2019 hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (NSW) & Southport Yacht Club (QLD)
Within hours of the Notice of Race going live, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s sailing office accepted its first Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta entry – John Bacon’s Class 40 Nexba Racing.
Until Cyclone Iris sent competitors to a safe place to wait out the worst conditions, Nexba Racing was tracking well in the double-handed Melbourne to Osaka fleet. Bacon and crewmate David Sampson made for the port of Gladstone on the advice of organisers butweren’t able to return to their position within the prescribed time, due to ongoing extreme weather. Two days later, on April 6, they made the difficult decision to withdraw, 11 days into the 5,500 nautical mile challenge.
Bacon was back at the RPAYC in Sydney this week when the Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta Notice of Race went live and he took the opportunity to put Nexba Racing forward as the first entry for the annual coastal race startingat 1pm on January 2, 2019 just north of Barrenjoey Headland at the entrance to Broken Bay.
“The boat is a beautifully prepared offshore boat and we always had intentions of campaigning it at other races and regattas in Australia,” Bacon said. “We aren’t sure whether we’ll sail double-handed or crewed; either way we are fully committed to being part of the Club Marine event.”
For the 2019 edition of the annual Category 2 passage race the RPAYC has clarified some ambiguity around what they will accept as equivalent crew experience, which is a minimum 150 nautical miles of offshore yacht racing by at least 50% of the planned crew aboard the yacht entered.
Race director Nick Elliott explains: “In keeping with the club’s philosophy of supporting boat owners with ambitions of offshore racing and reducing the number of hurdles to qualify for major events we’ve established simpler pathways to gain the necessary experience in order to tackle our premier race to Southport.
“We offer a complete summer bluewater program of Cat 3 and 4 races which means owners and crew can train together to meet the experience requirement in order to step up to the Cat 2 race to Southport and then the really ambitious can in future work up towards the Cat 1 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.”
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.
Nastasha Bryant & Annie Wilmot share their current 49er FX Regatta insights with us as they hunt down that Olypmic dream of Tokyo 2020.
We arrived in Palma on the 21st of March, that day we set the boat up ready for training. We sailed for the next 6 days, experiencing as many conditions as we could. Unfortunately I caught a virus and was bed ridden for the next 5 days leading into the competition, its not the ideal lead in but we made the most of the situation.
The first two days were light and tricky, we learned some tough lessons during the qualifying but managed to secure enough top ten scores and make gold fleet. The first day of finals racing was 22-25 knots and with big waves, we are really happy with our speed so as soon as we can keep the boat upright throughout the whole race in conditions like these we’ll be in great shape. The last two days were picture perfect and we are really proud of our efforts in scoring multiple top ten results! We finished off the regatta with two 3rd places on the last day, proving that all the work we’ve done back at home after Miami has payed off. We have improved on many aspects of our racing always learning, we notice that as we learn we make some new mistakes later on in the race but we’re really happy with our progress and can’t wait to keep working away on these new learnings.
We’ve now got another week in Palma which we will spend training and some exploring, it's important to enjoy the journey and the places we race in. Yesterday we went on a hike around one of the beautiful mountains, it really is a beautiful place. On the 16th of April we pack up and are heading off to Hyeres for our 2nd World Cup this year - looking forward to some more racing and building on our experience!
To all of our supporters at the RPAYC we would like to say a huge thank you for being there and sharing our journey with us. It makes so much of a difference to know you are behind us and as excited about our sailing as we are. Thank you for your support and we hope to make you proud! Onwards and upwards - enjoy your week! Tash + Annie.
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.
A record 78 boats – spread across three divisions for the first time – greeted the starter for a downwind dash from Nelson Bay to Shoal Bay, with the Ker 40 Showtime showing a clean transom to the chasing pack in Division 1.
From there it was a race of two halves, a work into a shifty 5-12 knot followed by a run in a fast-fading breeze. Fortune favoured those who’d done well early, as all three division winners on PHS were also the respective line honours victors.
Showtime co-owners Mark Griffith and Campbell Letchford nailed the start and, once in clean air, they sailed their own race.
“The breakwater side of the line was favoured so we gained 200 metres on the boats closer to the pin and then gradually pulled away,” Griffith said. “Then at the end of the race we got home before the wind shut out.”
Letchford said the Pittwater-based crew enjoyed the passage racing format that epitomises the laid-back Commodores Cup. “We’ve won an IRC State Championship here at Sail Port Stephens but this was our first Commodores Cup. It was like being in the tropics without having to travel a couple of thousand miles,” Letchford added.
At the finish Showtime was seven minutes clear of its nearest rival, Toy Story. The Farr 44 Seahawk (Pete & Drew Van Ryn) from Cronulla grabbed second place on PHS in Division 1 from Warwick Miller’s well-sailed Beneteau First 50 Lumiere.
It was a similar story for Dennis Cooper’s Amante (CYCA), with the Sydney 36 managing to hold off the Sydney 38 Austral across the line.
“We were a bit late to the start because I misjudged the tide, but we hit the lead in our fleet after a few hundred metres and never looked back,” Cooper said. “From our point of view, it was absolutely perfect. That boat just loves going to windward in that weight of breeze [12 knots] and we took full advantage.”