Record fleet at Sail Port Stephens 2012

Hooligan with bowman in the office. NSW IRC Championship. Sail Port Stephens 2011
Sail Port Stephens Event Media
Sail Port Stephens 2012, one of Australia’s fastest growing regattas, has attracted a record fleet. The fifth annual regatta runs from Monday until next Sunday night (April 16th-22nd).

Regatta Director Paul O’Rourke from the Corlette Point Sailing Club, the organising authority, said before this evening’s Welcome Cocktail function ‘The 2012 Sail Port Stephens fleet is the largest ever, with more than 160 entries across a range of divisions.

This year’s Grand Prix IRC fleet is one of the best seen in New South Wales in recent years and the Performance Racing fleet has had to be split in two, with some very classy boats chasing the silverware.

‘Across all the fleets in the Trophy Series we will have some Australia's top ocean racers competing, as well as the hottest new boats – it’s going to be an engrossing series to watch.

‘Stephen Ainsworth's 63 footer Loki and four TP52s; Rob Hanna's new Shogun V, Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm, Marcus Blackmore’s Australian champion boat Hooligan, back to defend her NSW IRC title, along with Bob Steel’s Quest, the 2010 major handicap winner, will lead the IRC first division.

'The 2012 Elliott 7 Australian Championships will be sailed with a very strong fleet and the event is expanding further with the introduction of our first Junior Regatta running from Wednesday to Friday. We have both O’Pen Bics and Optimists as the core for this fleet.’

The Commodores Cup Cruising fleet is of record size. Race officials will make the final call in the morning for first Commodores Cup course.

Race start for the Performance Racing division. Sail Port Stephens 2011
Sail Port Stephens Event Media

There will be around forty five boats starting from 1100 hours just off the break wall near the Fishermans Co-Op at Nelson Bay.

Given the forecast for increasing wind strengths over the three days duration of the Commodore’s Cup, the Three Islands Race is likely to be the first choice for day one.

If this is the case the fleet will head offshore weaving around Cabbage Tree, Little Island and Boondelbah Island in a figure eight, then retrace their passage back to Nelson Bay, with course lengths of 13.5 and 10 miles for the faster and slower divisions.

Depending on wind strength, the first boats could be finishing as early as 1400 hours along the break wall.

Visit the website Sail Port Stephens www.sailportstephens.com.au for the latest news on one of the best regattas in one of the most beautiful sailing venues in Australia.