Cruising by

On a day for the patient sailor, the Newcastle to Port Stephens fleet contended with light air ahead of Sail Port Stephens.

08 April 2018


The prelude to Sail Port Stephens began in light offshore breezes, with a healthy fleet of 47 making their way past Nobby’s Head for the Newcastle to Port Stephens race.

The final lead-in race served as a warm up before Sail Port Stephens begins racing for the Commodore’s Cup in Nelson Bay on Monday 9. Designed to give sailors extra value ahead of an action packed week of racing, the race followed the Pittwater to Newcastle race, aiming to attract those sailors without the luxury of a work-free sailing schedule.

Racing out of Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, numbers were up from the corresponding race last year. Yachts from as far away as Southport and Melbourne set off through the heads to kick off the week long sailing festival.

Crews were met with trying conditions, as they attempted to get their vessels moving.


With 5 knots of breeze, finally growing to 10 knots by late afternoon, crews battled in the light air, but were buoyed by the picturesque coast line of Port Stephens. In a shortened course, finishing at Fingal Head in Port Stephens,  Lake Macquarie boat Ignition was first over the line.

Anger Management from NCYC won overall honours, with wins in the IRC and ORCi divisions.

Skipper Richard Arnell commented on his performance in the light conditions. “The boat normally likes more breeze but we managed to carry our A1 spinnaker shyer than normal and a lot further than the other boats around us,”

Schouten Passage finished second in IRC, with Kayimai in third. In ORCi, Ignition came in second, with Kayimai also taking third in the division.

Sail Port Stephens has grown year on year, from humble beginnings to become one of the premier events on the Australian sailing calendar. Beginning in 2007, staring a with a modest fleet of 20, the 2018 iteration has attracted nearly 100 boats to the waters of the popular holiday spot.

Racing begins with the Commodores Cup, with over 78 boats entered. The big guns will be out in force for the NSW IRC Championships staring on Friday, attracting the likes of Hooligan, and for the first time, Wild Oats X. Ichi Ban is a late scratching after Cyclone Iris prevented their journey south from Gladestone.

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