South-easterly winds and a number of fierce battles are predicted for the 215-nautical-mile Newcastle Bass Island Race, the third race of the CYCA's Blue Water Pointscore Series, commencing this Friday evening on Sydney Harbour.
A total of 37 yachts are finalising their preparations for the third-last major lead-up race before the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart, with the battle for overall honours set to be one of the tightest.
The TP52 fleet looks most threatening for the overall win, with defending Blue Water champion Ichi Ban, owned by Matt Allen, currently leading the series with two first places in the opening two races – the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast and last month’s Flinders Islet.
Sam Haynes’ Celestial, along with Matt Donald and Chris Townsend’s Gweilo, also look likely to perform well based on recent form – they are currently tied for second place in the series, closely followed by Gordon Ketelby’s Zen. Celestial is also leading the PHS Division in the series, taking two wins from two races.
Celestial owner, CYCA Director Dr Sam Haynes, is happy with his team's progress in the series so far – and is excited about the upcoming Newcastle Bass Island battle this weekend.
“We've been doing well in the series. We came third overall in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast and first in PHS which is a great start to the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore – and in Flinders Islet we came fourth overall and first again in PHS,” Haynes said.
“Looking at the forecast at the moment, it's quite a reaching forecast, which might favour the newer TPs over us, as we're more VMG – though the boat is going fast in those reaching conditions at the moment. So it's not our best conditions, but it's not far off it for us.”
As per the first two races of the Blue Water Pointscore Series, there is also a tough contest for the first boat over the line. No Limit and Chinese Whisper have spent much of the series in a match-racing duel, going tack-for-tack during the Flinders Islet Race.
“It’s been very interesting racing so far. We’re having lots of fun and looking forward to more good races,” said Chinese Whisper co-owner David Griffith, who has an experienced crew on board, including champion navigator Adrienne Cahalan and racing veteran Michael Coxon.
– CYCA Media