Written by Lisa Ratcliff, Mercury
Races 4 and 5 of the BWPS Coastal Series – attracted a quality offshore fleet and unbelievable conditions – a kite run for both legs!
Saturday’s light morning start in a westerly, that slowly dialled around to the nor’east, gave way to a beautiful sea breeze up to 15 knots, as seven club racers headed to the newest boating destination on the beautiful NSW South Coast.
The asymmetric boats took the offshore route, while the symmetric boats mostly straight-lined it past Sydney, Wollongong, and Port Kembla to the finish line off the break wall and entrance to a fancy new man-made inshore harbour. A dolphin pod travelled out to meet us at the finish as a stunning sunset backlit the shoreline.
Mark Griffith’s DK46, LCE Old School Racing, took IRC honours for the race to Shellharbour. Mark Tinworth and Mark Waterhouse’s Farr 40 Mercury picked up the ORC win, and David and Ali Hobbs’ Elliott 13, Quantock, claimed the PHS top result.
Incredibly, the breeze swung south overnight and had built to 20 knots ESE by late morning, before settling in at 12-15 knots for the second half of the run home. It was one gybe back to Barrenjoey Headland for us on Mercury and a second and final gybe just short of the finish line.
The two-handed crew aboard Martin Cross’ Jeanneau Sunfast 3300, Transcendence Crento, sailed a terrific return leg to pip the fleet on IRC, ORC and PHS results.
Shellharbour’s new waterfront development offers boaties amazing facilities including 270 berths, fuel, dry storage, vessel lifting, and commercial marine services, close to restaurants and shops.
The marina and nearby waterfront were already flat-out by the time we arrived at sunset, a serious bevy of 50+ boats and anglers, in town for a fishing competition adding big numbers.
This cat 3 bluewater event, a mirror of the Newcastle Race weekend, has lots of potential. A scenic 65-mile coastal race then hopping off within easy reach of a feed, shower and a sleep, is a stress-free format for competitive racing and an enjoyable weekend out of Sydney.