Sports boats quick to join Sail Port Stephens action

The 2016 Sail Port Stephens Regatta added a Sports Boat division to the entry options this week and within 24 hours four crews were signed on.

Larger sports boats have entered the autumn regatta in previous years but now there’s a separate division on offer for sports boats and trailable yachts, with the Notice of Race amendment posted here.

The three-day series will run inshore from Friday April 15 to Sunday 17, 2016, and entry is open

Jim Dwyer, skipper of the Elliott 7 Emma Peel which took out the Sports Boat division at the Sydney Harbour Regatta on the weekend, is one of the early bird entries, along with the Ratcliff family from Pittwater in their new Viper 640 called Heat.

“Port Stephens offers good flatwater sailing at a great time of year in a beautiful location,” Dwyer said. “The facilities are terrific in terms of launching, marinas and chandlery and it’s a beautiful location with plenty for partners and families to do. It’s also pretty ‘central’ and we are hoping a few of the Queensland and Victorian sports boat crews might make the journey.”

To fuel interstate interest, host club Corlette Point Sailing Association is offering an exclusive travel rebate of $500 each for the first five sports boat entries from outside NSW.

“The Five-for-5 deal will help offset some of the costs of transport and airfares for crews coming into Newcastle Airport,” Regatta Director Geoff Campbell said.

Campbell is also offering a Melges 24 for charter to an experienced interstate team to campaign, given he won’t have the time to compete.

“The Melges is available and I’d prefer it go to a good Queensland or Victorian crew,” Campbell offered. “Unfortunately or fortunately I’ll be tied up overseeing the running of the event and can’t be on the water.”

Those interested in the charter or rebate can email campbellmarine.nsw@gmail.com .

The Sports Boat competition will coincide with the Port Stephens Trophy, NSW IRC state titles and Farr 40 and MC38 pointscores.

Multihulls have the option of sailing within the Commodore’s Cup series which opens the on-water timetable on Monday April 11. The marinas are quickly filling however Sail Port Stephens promotions manager Mark Rothfield says there are moorings at Little Beach Marina to accommodate trimarans and catamarans.

PRO Denis Thompson’s resources will be happily stretched to facilitate like boats wanting to race against each other in their own divisions.

“Any good regatta has to be adaptable and keep up with the changing patterns as fleets grow and contract,” Thompson said. “It means there may be sharing of some course areas but accommodating so many classes makes for fantastic close racing and keeps the regatta relevant to the most number of boat owners.”

– Lisa Ratcliff

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