Two months out from Lake Macquarie’s biggest annual sailing event, the Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta, organisers expect to break records for participation, fundraising and the fastest lap.

‘With Covid’s impact on competitors greatly reduced and the “Airforce Channel” now open to visiting vessels with up to two-metres draft, we expect more than 70 boats to come to the start for the One Lap, 12 Hour and 24 Hour Races,’ says Regatta Chair Craig Wills. ‘We’re also determined to break the record for fundraising this year.’

The Heaven Can Wait Charity Regatta was conceived and inaugurated by Lake Macquarie resident, keen sailor and cancer survivor Shaun Lewicki to promote sailing in the Hunter region and raise funds for cancer research. Now in its 17th Year, the regatta has raised more than $500,000 for the Home Help Program run by the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW.

Organisers are also anticipating the annual battle for line honours in the 30 nautical mile One Lap Classic to intensify.

‘In recent years, participation by the world’s best sailors, on a variety of foiling vessels, has seen us getting into position for the finish not long after the start,’ says Regatta Race Officer Evan McHugh. ‘Last year, Aussie Icon Sailor (Nathan Outteridge), on an IQ Foil sailboard, set a new record of 2 hours 9 minutes and 45 seconds at an average speed of just under 14 knots. The two-hour barrier is now in sight.’ [Pic supplied]

While there’s strong competition for line honours, many sailors consider the 24 Hour Endurance Race, covering the length and breadth of beautiful Lake Macquarie, with plenty of navigational challenges along the way, to be one of the best overnight races in Australia. Just finishing is considered a badge of honour, as demonstrated by Northshore 33 Barney Cools (Adam Boslem) which kept racing last year after shredding its mainsail in ferocious winds during the night. Barney Cools was well rewarded, however, taking out the trophy for biggest fundraiser. Titoki (Tim Binns) also finished the One Lap Dash with a gaping hole in its main. [Pic supplied]

As always, the regatta kicks off with a Charity Fundraising Dinner at RMYC Toronto of Friday February 3, with special guests author and broadcaster Scott Bevan and Cancer Council chair Hugh Harley. Crowd favourite Paul Bennett will provide the curtain raiser for the race start with a spectacular aerobatic display before the colourful sight of the 11am start off Bolton Point on February 4 with a cloud of sails bearing down on the first mark at Speers Point.

The Notice of Race and Entry System is now online at