The festival of sailing that is Sail Port Stephens has kicked off, with crews treated to hot weather and challenging westerlies for the opening day of racing.
The Commodores Cup, the cruising division opener for Sail Port Stephens saw three divisions take part in the opening clash for the first time. A record fleet of 78 boats started the race downwind in 7 to 12 knots of breeze, but the breeze quickly died down in the afternoon, after the division 1 leaders passed the finish buoys.
In division 1, Showtime, a Ker 40 from RPAYC, finished first overall on handicap, with Seahawk in second and Warick Miller’s Beneteau First 50 Lumiere coming in third.
Showtime co-owner Mark Griffiths was thankful for the early breeze.
“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,”
“Then at the end of the race we got home before the wind shut out.”
Margaret Rintoul V, a Frers 61, was the largest yacht in today’s fleet. The cruising sloop has appeared at the Commodore’s Cup for eight of its eleven iterations, winning their fair share of races. After a brief hiatus, the crew is back and are keen to stamp their authority on the division.
After a frenzied start to division 1, Margaret Rintoul V made up considerable ground to be third past the gates, placing 6th after handicap. Skippering Margaret Rintoul V today was Graham Morton, who is also co-owner.
“We had a slow start, but we managed to claw it back. It was a good hit out considering we haven’t sailed together in nearly two years.”
Morton has been an avid fan of Sail Port Stephens after its inaugural year. “When we saw how fun the first year of Sail Port Stephens, it was something we want to be a part of.”
“It’s a great event for us to come to. Its challenging sailing, and its a great part of the world.
We are looking to improve each day, we want to put in a competitive showing”.
The Commodores Cup continues until Wednesday, with the official presentation taking place at the Beach Buoys Ball. Thursday will be the traditional lay-day in anticipation for the NSW IRC Championships.