Fleet prepares for inaugural Newcastle Bass Island Race

Twenty yachts are expected take part in the 200 nautical mile Newcastle Bass Island Yacht Race, which kicks off at 7.00pm this Friday evening local time and is a new addition to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Pointscore Series (BWPS). 

The new race will take the fleet from a start line at Point Piper on Sydney Harbour, north to Newcastle on the Central Coast and then south to Bass Island, 1 nautical mile south-east of Flinders Islet, before heading back to the Rushcutters Bay finish line on Sydney Harbour.

Sam Haynes’ Celestial leads the charge going into Race 3 of the BWPS. The Rogers 46 has a four point lead over the two newest boats in the fleet – Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice and Matt Allen’s Carkeek 60, Ichi Ban – along with Paul Clitheroe’s new acquisition, the TP52 Balance (ex Quest) and Darryl Hodgkinson’s canting Cookson 50, Victoire.

In what is shaping up to be the closest series for some years, the imposing four behind Celestial, their names already engraved on major trophies, are on eight points each going into Race 3. 

Rob Hanna’s TP52, Shogun, won the second race of the series, the Flinders Islet Race in September and the Victorian boat is always in good form. Reigning BWPS champion, Wild Rose, Roger Hickman’s Farr 43, and the Ed Psaltis/Bob Thomas/Michael Bencsik owned Ker 40, St George Midnight Rambler, are also known performers, and could easily topple those above them.

For the first time, Todd Giraudo will race his brand new Jeanneau Sunfast 3600, Kraken, subsequent to launching at the Sydney Boat Show in August. Kraken is the big sister of the Sunfast 3200 West Australian Giraudo previously owned and raced double-handed in a blue water series in the West for the past three years, in addition to other major races there. 

The new Kraken, according to her owner, is suited to double-handed and fully crewed racing. The 200 nautical mile Newcastle Bass Island race will give Giraudo and crew a real workout and a chance to test the new boat as it prepares for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race ahead of being sailed home to Perth.

Other entries include Olympian David Forbes and his Kaiko 52, Merlin from Middle Harbour, and former rugby great Mick Martin and his TP52, Frantic, from Lake Macquarie. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing plenty of TP52’s, Cooksons and Rogers boats coming out to play,” Martin commented on the coming race, recognising the talents of Shogun, Balance, Victoire and Celestial. 

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, winds will be east to north-easterly below 10 knots by late Friday afternoon on the Harbour. On Saturday, an east to north-easterly 10 knot breeze tending north to north-easterly at 15 to 20 knots during the morning is forecast along the Central Coast. Heading north on Saturday, the Bureau forecasts a north-easterly of 10 to 15 knots turning northerly during the evening.

Originally the CYCA planned to re-introduce the 320 nautical mile Montague Island Race (last sailed in 1986) as Race 3 of the BWPS, but in consultation with boat owners, opted instead for the 200 nautical mile Newcastle Bass Island Yacht Race. It means yachties will get a little time with family and friends over the long weekend.   

Updates and full results will be on the CYCA website.

– Di Pearson

Cyclops Marine
M.O.S.S Australia
West Systems