The opening day of the Pantaenius Yacht Insurance Port Stephens Trophy challenged crews and on-water officials in equal amounts, long delays to the start of racing and a drawn-out single race against dramatic skies offshore for the Garmin NSW IRC Championship and Super 12 fleets.
The sports boats, VX Ones and Performance Racing division 2 fleet inshore fared better, the Salamander Bay windward/leeward course producing 5-7 knots from the south to the south-east, just enough breeze to complete the three-race schedule for the light-weights among the 150 strong combined fleet at Sail Port Stephens.
Mark Griffith’s saving grace for a hard day’s work, including floating around on glassy seas with the rest of the IRC fleet waiting more than two hours for a start, was second over the line and the IRC division 1 corrected time win with his Sydney based Ker 40 Showtime.
“We had a good day, very challenging conditions and the guys did well to keep the boat fast and in the pressure,” Griffith said, adding “we are a bit chuffed to beat our mates on the TP52s across the line.”
Next in the division 1 standings for the single shortened course were five of the seven TP52s and leading the TPR division is Sam Haynes’ Celestial.
IRC division 2 honours went to Mark Benson’s Farr 40 Mojo from Joe de Kock’s Farr 40 Good Form and division 3 to Dale Sharp’s Farr 31 Sofarr from Jack Stening’s Sydney 36 Stowaway.
Performance Racing division 1 joined the IRC fleet, Adrian Walters’ slippery Shaw 11m Little Nico first in division and also in Super 12 results, beating Ian Oatley’s Q under both scoring systems.
Video story on Q.
On the opening day of the Australian Sports Boat Championship, Malcom Dean’s Shaw 650 The Stig from South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club was boat of the day. “We put the ‘amateur’ in our club’s name” said the laconic Dean. “It was very similar to lake sailing; very shifty and definitely challenging. And we might have got lucky. It’s our second time sailing the boat, I’ve had it close to a month but had other stuff on. It was fantastic to get three races in.”
Leading VX One after three races is Joel McDonald’s Supervax from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. McDonald is on the bow and crewing are the skipper and sheethand off the mighty Mack One, Ben and Josh Franklin, who with Mack One owner Alan Moffatt added another Australian VX One title to their already enviable sailing CV at this year’s Festival of Sails at Geelong.
The first four boats in Performance Racing division 2 finished on equal combined points, indicating a major tussle for the remaining two days of competition, through to Sunday April 14, 2019.
Performance Cruising’s three divisions were meant to head offshore around the islands near the entrance to Port Stephens. This idea was rejigged and swapped for an inshore race between Corlette Point and Shoal Bay when the better breeze eventually settled in the bay.
On Friday evening crews were able to wash away the day’s exasperations thanks to longtime Port Stephens Trophy sponsor Pantaenius Yacht Insurance, who put on complimentary drinks and BBQ at Broughton’s on the Bay.
Saturday April 13 is likely to bring a continuation of variable winds below 10 knots. Given the forecast regatta director Denis Thompson has adjusted the IRC format to windward/leeward plus a passage race. All other divisions will race as per the sailing instructions.
Full results for the 12th Sail Port Stephens proudly supported by Destination NSW and Port Stephens Council at http://www.topyacht.net.au/results/2019/sps/index.htm