Sail Port Stephens Week One

The colours of the Bay during Sail Port Stephens.

SAIL Port Stephens offered up mixed conditions in its first week.

The Sail Port Stephens Passage Series came to an early conclusion on Saturday with the fleet poised to start Race 5 until racing was abandoned due to a lack of consistent breeze.

It was a stark contrast to the previous four days which featured the sort of conditions sailors long for but rarely get.

Jon Linton and his crew aboard Llama II, a Dehler 46 from the Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney, started the regatta with a first and proved the boat to beat in PHS Division 1 with a fifth, sixth and a fourth on subsequent days leaving them seven points clear of their closest rivals.

“It’s always a treat to sail up here,” Linton said.

“Even though it was probably a bit lighter than we would have liked, we worked hard to take the gains where we could and sail our own race against some very good competition.”

Linton promised the Llamas will be back to defend their Commodores Cup title in 2024.

Second-placed Julian Bell’s Beneteau 50 51st Project from the Port Stephens Yacht Club were carrying local hopes and said they enjoyed the close racing in the big fleet on their home waters.

A squeeze at the pin end of the start line in Division 1 during race 4 resulted in Julian Bell’s 51st Project being recalled but slick crew work aboard the big Beneteau 50 put her back among the leaders on the first upwind leg to Cabbage Tree Island.

Indi, an immaculate Farr 40 owned by former Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Noel Cornish, was third on a countback.

Sunfish Lee Condell’s new Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 was top of the podium in Division 2 with Justin Mitchell’s Rant and Rave from the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Toronto in second and Nocleks, a Farr 30, in third.

Division 3 evolved into a contest between the Gosford Sailing Club and the locals from the Port Stephens Yacht Club with the visitors from Gosford securing the silverware thanks to a very consistent performance by Mo Goodship and his crew on Animal Farm, a Foundation 36.

Steve Liney and his crew of enthusiastic local sailors aboard Bellamy, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.2, were a strong second, while fellow Port Stephens Dennis Hume’s boat Wubaray in third and hot on Wubaray’s heels was Port Stephens Yacht Club’s Una Vita.

Port Stephens Yacht CLub’s Smoke and Mirrors took out seventh place with She’s The One in 9th and Shere Khan in eleventh place.

Chris Laughlan’s Hanse 370e Trim won Division 4, the skipper quick to acknowledge his crew’s sail-handling and improvisational skills.

“We had a core crew with visitors each day and all meshed into an excellent team at short notice,” he revealed.

The Non-Spinnaker Division was keenly contested with Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club entries Transcedence Crento and Trilogy filling first and second respectively, while Rod Wills’s well-campaigned X-43 Great Xpectations from the CYCA claimed third.

In the Non-Spinnaker Division, Port Stephens Yacht Club’s Elusive took out seventh place and newcomers Adios under Graeme Ellis took ninth place.

Regatta Director Paul O’Rourke said it was heartening to see the record fleet of 107 boats revelling in the mix of conditions at Sail Port Stephens.

“We’re very pleased that competitors were able to experience the best of what this stunning location offers sailors and their families,” he said.

“We hope they will be back next year for what has become a ‘must do’ event on many sailing calendars.”

Part two of the regatta, the Windward Leeward Series incorporating the NSW Yachting Championships and TP52 Gold Cup Act 3, runs alone from 5-7 May.

Trailables and off-the-beach classes also get their own event on 19-21 May.


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