SailFest Newcastle Regatta 2022 was held from March 26 to March 27, with the City of Newcastle TP52 Gold Cup IRC honours decided in the protest room after a pre-start rule breach in the final race.

TP52 IRC winner Gweilo. Photo: Salty Dingo

Three protests were lodged by David Doherty’s Matador, Matt Donald and Chris Townsend’s Gweilo and Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban.

As the fleet lined up in their starting positions for the City of Newcastle TP52 Gold Cup there was apparent contact between Matador and the stern of Ichi Ban.

Afterwards, the competition committee decided in the protest room that Ichi Ban had broken Rule 20.2c for not responding to “a hail for room to tack as soon as possible”.

The unfortunate disqualification pushed Ichi Ban out of first place, Gweilo claimed victory and Seb Bohm’s Smuggler moved up to second.

Under the TPR handicap, Matador beat Smuggler and Andy Kearnan and Peter Wrigley’s KOAIchi Ban and Sam Haynes’ Celestial placed eighth and ninth.

Gweilo owner Matt Donald said three solid windward-leewards seen on March 27 contributed toward the passage race success.

“It’s a great fleet,” he said.

“We didn’t start the passage race well yesterday (March 26), but we ended up in good shape.

“Today (March 27), we had a small wind and a big sea state, but the boys did well to keep the boat going.”

Choppy conditions for the TP52 final. Photo: Salty Dingo.

Smuggler’s Sebastian Bohm said he was happy with the result and proud of the crew’s performance.

“We love this regatta, and we just love coming to Newcastle,” Bohm said.

 “We have a really tight-knit crew and a great shore team, and we work hard to make sure that all stays together because it helps on the water.

“We’re getting faster and faster; we’re learning more about the boat and getting some great results.

“It’s also the crew, of course. Our tactician, Steven McConaghy, was spot on, and we all gelled really well.”

The Transport for NSW Offshore Series saw Queensland’s Gary Holt win the PHS aboard his Adams 10 against the Farr 31 Sofarr, owned by Lake Macquarie’s Dale Sharp.

The Sailing Champions League Asia Pacific finals also wrapped up on Newcastle Harbour.

Mornington Yacht Club won the Under-22 series then won in the final, beating Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

Race organisers managed 32 qualifying races plus finals, despite challenging conditions over the two days.

Sailing Champions League Asia Pacific director, Mark Turnbull, said the youth sailors were well suited to the format.

“I haven’t seen another venue like this before either,” he said.

“The fact that the Honeysuckle Hotel is right there, and sailors can be entertained while not sailing makes for a great event.

“Next year, though, we’ll order 28-degrees and sunshine.”

Cock of the Harbour winner. Photo: Salty Dingo

The Cock of the Harbour race held by Port Hunter 16 Foot Skiff Club went to the all-carbon Nacra F20.

One of the oldest trophies in Australian sailing, the Cock of the Harbour is awarded annually to the fastest sailing vessel in the harbour.

SailFest Newcastle Regatta is supported by City of Newcastle, Transport for NSW and Steel City.

Hayley McMahon

Information source: Mark Rothfield