Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club will introduce a new overnight race to the offshore circuit later this year – the Hunter 100!

The 100 nautical mile race offers crews the opportunity to experience Bluewater sailing at its best with almost 24hrs of exploration along the hunter coastline between the Central Coast and Port Stephens Marine Park.

The club’s CEO Paul O’Rourke states that “the Hunter 100 presents an opportunity for crews to get some practice in before Hobart. It’s offshore, it’s overnight, and it will involve some planning and navigating in order to remain safe and competitive in this fleet.”

Paul continues “Entries opened today and we’re anticipating a full range of entrants from 30ft Catalinas and Hanse cruisers through to Mick Martin’s TP52 Frantic.”

The race will start in Newcastle Harbour at 6:30pm on Friday, 2nd December and competitors are expected to finish throughout the following day.

Starting at Newcastle, the race will commence with a quick dash south to Bird Island after work on Friday night before turning north up to Cabbage Tree Island at Port Stephens and then returning to Newcastle to finish.

Bird Island is a protected nature reserve visible from Norah Head lighthouse on the Central Coast. The island reaches a height of around twenty meters above sea level and is a breeding hub for some twenty species of birds.

Cabbage Tree Island is a rugged island, about a kilometre long and over a hundred meters tall located just off the entrance to Port Stephens. The island is part of the Port Stephens and Great Lakes Marine Park and is understood to be one of the only remaining breeding sites for the Gould’s petrel seabird.

Robert Logan is an active member of the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and owns a cruising Catalina 355. Rob explains that “this is the kind of race that appeals to cruising yachts like us. It’s just the right length that ensures we’ll get to experience a night at sea and be home for dinner the next day.”

Club Commodore Steve Rae welcomes visitors to join the new event, particularly from Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie, where “competitors can participate in an overnight race to Cabbage Tree Island without needing to travel to Sydney to do so. Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club members are looking forward to meeting the CYCA Bluewater Pointscore fleet somewhere off the Central Coast where both fleets will then proceed north together.”

The race leaders are expected to finish on Saturday morning while the cruisers may finish later in the day around sunset.

In preparing to race at night, Sailing Manager Jack Buchan suggests that “preparation plays a major role in any offshore endeavour – especially when sailing after dark.” He goes on to suggest “Crews will benefit from scheduling a short training session one night to build awareness of the different challenges of sailing and navigating at night safely.”

The organisational team at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club brings a wealth of experience and capable race management personnel and combines it with the support of Asahi as the major sponsor to deliver the Hunter 100 – a Bluewater Classic.

The club will also host a ‘Sailing at Night’ masterclass from 6:00pm Monday 10th October to help crews and yacht owners prepare for their first overnight race.

Click here for online entry and race documents

Photos by Jack Buchan, NCYC