Sail Port Stephens thrilled to welcome sports boats
Like sausage rolls and sauce or apple pie and icecream, Sail Port Stephens and sports boats have been inextricably linked since 2016, and race organisers are looking forward to another great series with the thrill machines scheduled for 19-21 May 2023.
The high-performance class comprises a mixed but well-matched fleet of thoroughbred designs such as the Shaw 650, Thompson 7, Elliott 7 and 780, Melges 24, Viper 640, Leech 650, Sayer 8, Bethwaite 79er and more, all of which bring colour, spray and excitement to arguably Australia’s best inshore racing waterway.
Originally the plan this year was for the sports boats to sail a passage series along with a trailer sailer fleet, however by popular demand a windward-leeward course is being offered. That means up to nine races in three fantastic days of sailing, as part of a stand-alone Bay Series that will see J70s and the International Canoe class sharing the same course.
Over the years the Australian Sports Boat Association has coincided the regatta with its state and national championships, with crews regularly praising the race organisation and sailing conditions.
Lake Macquarie’s Malcolm Dean said in 2021: “The regatta was awesome. There’s great banter and we love sailing against the best.” He added that “the race committee did a brilliant job in really challenging conditions. Everything was perfect – we kept checking bias on the start line and there wasn’t any … I’m going to buy them all a beer this afternoon.”
Andrew York noted that Port Stephens is a great place to visit – “It feels like you’re on holiday as soon as you arrive” he said. Queensland’s Graham Sherring added that “the friendliness of the people and excellent hospitality” is another appealing quality of the region, along with the idyllic sailing conditions.
Daily prizes and entertainment will be offered at the Cheeky Dog pub run by event sponsor Bannisters Port Stephens, with Sail Port Stephens being just as much renowned for its off-water hospitality as on-water excellence.
“With the support of Bay Sailing Centre and Port Stephens Yacht Club, we’re really keen to establish the Bay Series as a major off-the-beach event in its own right,” Sail Port Stephens regatta director Paul O’Rourke says. “The sports boats are integral to that plan as we enjoy having them here, there’s ideal facilities, and I know they all really enjoy being here as well.
“I’d encourage anyone who owns a sports boat, whether it’s sitting in the shed or actively competing, to come and enjoy three days of fun, challenging windward-leeward racing, and that famous Sail Port Stephens festive atmosphere as well.”
Sail Port Stephens is proudly supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, along with sponsors including Port Stephens Council, Pantaenius Insurance and Bannisters Port Stephens.
Photos by Salty Dingo