Beneteau owners line up for annual Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour

On Friday November 21, 2014, Beneteau owners on both sides of Sydney Harbour Bridge, from Woolwich and Gladesville across to Middle Harbour and then up to Pittwater on the northern beaches will gather for another Beneteau Cup.

For the past 22 years, from the time Vicsail became the Australian Beneteau importer for the region, crews have gathered for a fun afternoon of racing followed by dinner and prizegiving in Rushcutters Bay at the host club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The Beneteau Cup Pittwater began in 2000, giving owners the chance to put on their racing skins and take on the wider Beneteau family twice a year. For some owners it’s the only competitive sailing they do, while others run a hectic calendar of club and offshore racing both in and out of Sydney and afar. The clan is well-travelled with Beneteaus en masse at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week each August and a large representation at Geelong’s Festival of Sails in January.

Sponsored by Sydney City Marine and KPMG, the upcoming harbour event offers both a spinnaker and non-spinnaker option.

A division within a division is forming with up to seven Oceanis 45s ready to do battle in the non-spinnaker or non-spilling-of-drinks division. Pittwater representatives Kevin Wallis (Stellar) and Ivor Burgess (Still Dangerous) are plotting their march south to hostile territory to wrangle with Sydney owners Greg Newton (Antipodes of Sydney), John Formosa (Yandoo) Michael Reddick (Carolina), Eric Frank (Bliss) and the latest launch only days out from the Beneteau Cup Sydney Harbour, Peter Hill’s potential starter, a sparkling new Oceanis 45 called Ruth.

Greg Newton’s latest in his Antipodes series is a Beneteau Oceanis 45 called Antipodes of Sydney. Due to a busy owner schedule the boat has sat pretty still since contesting its first regatta at Hamilton Island in August. Newton is looking forward to ventilating that new boat smell at the Beneteau Cup in a couple of weeks’ time and over the summer season.

Newton has been a long-term supporter of the Beneteau Cup and after winning last year’s lucky door prize of a business class trip to Noumea for two he’s delighted to sing the regatta’s praises.  “We’ve been part of the Beneteau Cup well over a dozen times and found it to be an easy-going and fun packed day that offers the chance to invite a team who aren’t necessarily your crack crew. It’s not a muck-around day though, more like having fun in a competitive spirit without being under threat like at the more serious regattas.

“We particularly enjoyed last year’s cup, well-run as always and the best value all-round for the owners. The Beneteau Cup has been on Antipodes’ calendar since the 1990s – we wouldn’t miss it!” Newton added.

The 2014 cup drew more than 35 yachts and crews to the end-of-the-week bash. NSW’s new Beneteau agent, Graham Raspass, based at Vicsail at Rushcutters Bay has sent out invites and is gearing up for another healthy mix of regatta regulars and other owners putting their toes in the competition pool for the first time.

“The Beneteau Cup is always a great day on the harbour and a unique opportunity for Beneteau owners to enjoy a day of semi competitive / fiercely competitive racing against each other,” says Raspass. “The full range of Beneteau boats, Oceanis, Sense and First, competing is a spectacular sight.”

Beneteaus range in length from the First 21.7 at 21 feet up to the Beneteau 57. Commissioning and customer service manager at Vicsail, Shane Crookshanks, poses an interesting scenario; “It’s a gathering of a huge range of boats and if you add the lengths together there’s a few miles of Beneteau yachts negotiating their way around Sydney Harbour come the afternoon of November 21.”

A multi-generational fleet will represent Beneteau designs from the mid-1980s up to the very latest from the high volume French builder.

Standard collision regulations will apply to all vessels participating in the event. Organisers emphasise the ‘Gentleman’s Rules’ or, ‘if in doubt keep out’ style of racing. The scheduled time of the warning signal for race 1 is 12.55pm. Race 2 will start at approximately 3pm in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay.

Entry is via Top Yacht here.

– Lisa Ratcliff

Pantaenius Sailing
M.O.S.S Australia
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