Night racing on Lake Macquarie to challenge sailors
The fourteenth running of the most unique sailing event on Lake Macquarie – the Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta (HCW), is scheduled for February 22-23, 2020. It will again raise funds for the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW and their Home Help Program which supports both recovering and terminal Cancer patients who are unable to perform their domestic duties because of their condition.
Around 80 boats are expected to take part in the regatta – organised and run by the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto.
The regatta features a variety of events including a 24 hour Endurance race which will test the stamina of some of the most experienced sailors from both Lake Macquarie and other ports in the state.
“It’s a challenging event – particularly the 24 Hour Endurance Race, but I know all of the crews who have done this in the past, look forward to the test,” said Mel Steiner – Vice Commodore, of the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto. “Even hardened Hobart participants agree that this is a tough race – no sleep, lots of sail changes and the vagaries of the weather, make the 24 Hour Race a test of endurance” he said.
The Regatta will feature specially designed courses to cater for different types of vessels. In addition to the 24 Hour Endurance Race – which caters for yachts, multi hulls and trailer sailors, other events include a Long (30 Nautical Mile) One Lap Dash for Yachts, trailer Sailors, multi hulls and larger off-the-beach vessels, a 12 hour race for yachts, multi hulls and trailer sailors, and a Short One Lap Dash for boat owners of yachts, multi hulls, trailer sailors, dinghies and off-the-beach vessels, not wanting to compete in the 30 nautical mile Long One Lap Dash.
“The Regatta has become a hugely popular event on the sailing calendar but it’s also a great spectacle for those watching from the shore, particularly the start, which – with the right wind conditions, results in a lot of colour on display as boats hoist their spinnakers for the run too or from Speers Point” said Mr Steiner.
HCW was the brainchild of Lake Macquarie resident, keen sailor and cancer survivor, Shaun Lewicki. “Initially we wanted to raise funds for cancer research, particularly men’s cancers, but also promote sailing on the lake and promote the Lake Macquarie and Hunter regions in general” said Mr Lewicki. He went on to say “Cancer survival rates have and will continue to improve but recovery can be lengthy and very frustrating for the patients. For this reason, the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW identified the need for a Home Help Program and this will be the sixth consecutive year that the HCW directly funds that program”.
The Regatta will kick off with a Charity Dinner on Friday February 21 at the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto, with the races taking place over the following weekend – February 22 / 23.
The start of racing on the Saturday morning will be preceded by an Aerobatic Display by Paul Bennett – renowned local pilot extraordinaire, who will perform over the water in front of the RMYC Toronto at about 10.00am.
For the past 4 years, HCW has been a part of Lakefest, a three week long celebration of aquatic activity on Lake Macquarie running from February 15 – March 7, organised and run by aquatic based clubs around the lake and sponsored by Lake Macquarie City Council. In addition to the HCW, events in Lakefest include the Sports Boat Association Championships, the Etchells Championships, The Lake Macquarie Yacht Club Regatta, a combined clubs Twilight race, the Lake Macquarie Classic Boat Association Boatfest and to finish up, a Charity ‘Pretty In Pink’ Ball to be held at the RMYC Toronto on March 7th.