Newcastle Cruising Yachts Club’s annual Newcastle Port Stephens race is shaping up as a downwind sprint towards Sail Port Stephens with a whopping 40 boat fleet to match, this weekend.
A large weekend of downwind champagne sailing is on the cards for fleets converging on NCYC this Saturday prior to Sunday’s dash north along Stockton Bight and around Point Stephens light to the finish off Tomaree headland.
Line honour favourites this year are Doug Coulter’s Rogers 46 Shakti hot off her Pittwater Goldcoast win at Christmas as well as fellow Lake sailor and weekend arch rival, Ian Bower’s in his Farr 400 Ignition. More difficult to pick are the IRC and PHS favourite due to with a vast array of well prepared and strong performing boats which make up the largest fleet on record. Mumm 30, 2Excess, owned by Mark Schrafenberg is back to defend last year’s PHS title as is Rob and Jan Howard’s Beneteau 40.7, Schouten Passage, which took top IRC honours in 2016.
NCYC Rear Commodore Barry Kelly said, with a smile on his face earlier today, “We are delighted to have such a great turnout for our annual event. Hopefully all enjoy some NCYC hospitality on Saturday night and a great sleigh ride North on Sunday”. Rear Commodore Kelly has good reason to smile as this year’s race perfectly suits his Archambault M34, Concealed Weapon, a yacht with lines and downwind performance akin to a mini Volvo 60 class yacht.
Sail Port Stephens, which the race feeds into, is celebrating 10 years and everyone wants to be at the party! Go to www.ncyc.net.au for a list of entries and results as the entourage migrates to North.
by Richard Howard