Sail Port Stephens is partnering with Hunter Parking and Storage to present one of the most dynamic and panoramic days on the NSW boating calendar, with on- and off-water regatta action reaching a crescendo for ‘Super Saturday’, April 16.
This year sees the debut of a much-awaited Broughton Island passage race, a 26 nautical mile lap of the pristine islands off Port Stephens, as part of the NSW IRC Championship and Port Stephens Trophy.
Also new, Sail Port Stephens has linked with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) to raise vital funds for brain cancer research, honouring regatta mentor Roger Hickman who succumbed recently to a brain tumour.
The HMRI Cup will now be presented annually for the Broughton Island Passage Race and proceeds from the ‘End-of-Season Sailebration’ evening at Broughtons at the Bay function centre will be donated to HMRI.
“Broughton Island is a natural marine reserve 14 kilometres north-east of Port Stephens,” Sail Port Stephens Regatta Director Geoff Campbell said. “The faster yachts will have a chance to ‘stretch their legs’ and the race track will also offer unique challenges for the tacticians.
“Because Hicko loved his offshore sailing, it’s a good way for us to acknowledge the support he provided when our club was establishing the regatta.”
A top-quality IRC fleet is assembling for the State title, including TP52 heavyweights Balance, Ichi Ban, Koa and Celestial along with the DK46 pairing of Nine Dragons and Khaleesi. Queensland sailor Peter Harburg is bringing his smaller Black Jack Too with skipper Mark Bradford.
Inside the Heads, divisional racing for the MC-38, Farr 40, Super 11 and Sports Boat classes will be in full swing. Every boat will be out racing simultaneously, creating a spread of sail as far as the eye can see.
For the ultimate view, Sail Port Stephens VIP entertainment will be conducted on a super-luxurious Monte Carlo 70-foot cruiser from Sundance Marine.
The Saturday ‘Sailebration’ will then toast the sailing season in style, including a fun ‘rum tasting’ competition for crews, craft beer, Wild Oats wines, prize giveaways and trophy presentations. Dress is ‘loud’ party shirt. The Hicko Shield is also awarded that night to the crew best demonstrating the relaxed spirit of Sail Port Stephens.
There is a serious intent as well, with proceeds going to support brain cancer research through HMRI, NSW’s second largest medical research institute with an internationally-recognised cancer program focused on precision and personalised therapies. See www.hmri.org.au
HMRI cancer researchers Professor Rodney Scott and Dr Craig Gedye, both keen yachtsmen, will be attending Hunter Parking and Storage’s Super Saturday.
Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in people under the age of 40 and accounts for more than 30 per cent of cancer deaths in young children. Risk factors are unknown as brain cancer is indiscriminate and there are no screening procedures.
Entries are still open for IRC and Performance Cruising and Racing yachts, along with Sports Boats, Super 11S, Farr 40s and MC-38s. See www.sailportstephens.com.au
Sail Port Stephens is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, and Pantaenius’ major sponsorship continues for the third year.