Quest wins Act 2 opener of TP52 Gold Cup

Craig Neil’s Quest has scored victory on the opening day of Act 2 of the 2023 Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup series, held in conjunction with Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club’s (NCYC) fourth running of SailFest Newcastle Regatta.

Scored under TPR, especially created for the class, Quest won the day from David Doherty’s Matador and Gweilo.

“We had a good day in beautiful autumn conditions and not a lot of water over the boat. One of those champagne sailing days,” enthused Neil, whose boat has twice won the Sydney Hobart under the names Quest and Balance. Neil knows he has a good boat and that the rest comes down to good crew work, tactics and taking advantage of opportunities.

“We picked the shifts right and the trimmers did a good job keeping us moving. That wasn’t easy through the transition, which was tricky, as it was fickle until the north-easterly came in.

“The choice was to sail inshore or offshore. We stayed out to the east going to the top mark and that paid of for us and a few others. I’m really proud of the crew. The teamwork was excellent. Everything went up and down without a hitch.

“It was wonderful to have Geoff Boettcher come all the way from Adelaide with Secret Mens Business,” he said of the distinctive orange hulled 2023 Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race winner. “It was great to have Mick Martin (Frantic) here too,” he said of the former Wallaby.

“There’s 150 odd people sailing on the 10 boats and we’re all moored together. It’s very social between everyone here. We’re all enjoying a cold beer and nibbles before heading out to dinner,” Neil ended.

Chris Townsend and Matt Donald’s Gweilo was on song today, taking line honours, the IRC overall win from Matador and Quest, with third under TPR. A mere 31 seconds separated the top two overall.

“We’re very pleased with those results. It’s always close in this class. It’s perfect having 10 boats here and we’re excited to have Geoff (Boettcher) and his crew here,” Donald said.

“We got away at 12.15pm and had a nice north/north-west to beat out of the Harbour to Stockton. Everyone was right up on line going for it. Secret Mens Business did well offshore, we went up middle and others went inshore as the breeze built nicely to 13 knots from the north-east.”

Donald said Gweilo had a tight race with SMB and Matador all day. And it was a long day, as tomorrow will be, with three windward/leeward races on the cards to decide the final outcome of Act 2.

“The forecast is for a 14-17 knot north-westerly, so racing should be exciting in an offshore breeze, although it will be shifty. It’ll be tight racing for sure, it always is on the windward leewards,” Donald explained of tomorrow’s conditions with racing to start at 10.30am.

Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson, will set the course tomorrow.

Apart from the hot competition and the berthing arrangements with NCYC placing the TP52s together, crews are enjoying the variety of their chosen accommodations and restaurants, all within walking distance of the Club.

The the Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup series consists of 4 Acts. The final Act will determine the overall winner.

The overall winner and main prize are decided under TPR, a rating system created by Terry Wetton, the event founder and class captain. It ensures a fair playing field as it supports youth sailors (Under 25) and levels the professional field out with clicks added to the handicap.

Also scored under IRC, prizes will be awarded for first to third places in both handicap categories.

SailFest Newcastle Regatta is sponsored by City of Newcastle and Transport for NSW.

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