Light winds and close contests for ANZAC Day racing at Sail Port Stephens

Sailors were prominent among the big crowd that turned out for the traditional ANZAC Day dawn service at Nelson Bay.

More than 500 people bowed their heads in respect for the ANZAC tradition and Australians who’ve served and died, as the first rays of sunlight filtered through the masts of the big fleet in town for Sail Port Stephens and tied-up in the adjacent marina.

The mood lightened with the breeze and several crews took advantage of the one-hour racing delay to cool off in the Bay’s inviting blue-green water.

With the forecast easterly wind beginning to filter into the huge expanse of Port Stephens, Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson made the wise call to switch courses to run eastwards back to the entrance in Shoal Bay, followed by a combination of tight reaching legs and an upwind beat, before a spinnaker finish off the Nelson Bay breakwall.

Grant Pocklington’s Sydney 39 Hussy, from the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Pittwater, sailed consistently and found the best lines in the tide to notch up their first win of the regatta on PHS in Division 1. Indi, a Farr 40 from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, was only 43 seconds behind on corrected time, with Condor, a Kerr 40 from Pittwater, taking third place.

In Division 2 there was a reshuffle of the previous day’s podium with Joel Skelton’s Nocleks, a Farr 30, upgrading from third to first, while Justin Mitchell’s Adams 10 Rant & Rave added a second to yesterday’s win. Young at Heart a Young 88, found the conditions to its liking, securing third just over a minute astern of Rant & Rave.

Mo Goodship’s Animal Farm, a Foundation 36, went one better than day before, winning Division 3 from two local boats – Dennis Hume’s Wubaray and Shere Khan, a well-known Flying Tiger owned by Ross Kelly.

Division 4 saw Toronto-based Barney Cools hold off Pinta Bay, and Majella which were separated by just 34 seconds.

In the Non-Spinnaker Division Elara Steven Mullie’s Beneteau Oceanis 321 from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, recorded a second bullet, giving them a handy lead in the overall point score.

Crews aboard the 108 yachts competing in the six-day Passage Series comprising the Pantaenius Commodores Cup and Port Stephens Trophy are looking forward to predicted stronger winds from the east north east tomorrow, ahead of a lay day on Thursday.

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