Heaven Can Wait Sailing Regatta at Royal Motor Yacht Club, Toronto, on February 24

ALL COMERS: Action from the 2017 Heaven Can Wait Sailing Regatta on Lake Macquarie. The event caters for every type of craft from large ocean-going yachts to trailer sailors. Picture: Supplied
ALL COMERS: Action from the 2017 Heaven Can Wait Sailing Regatta on Lake Macquarie. The event caters for every type of craft from large ocean-going yachts to trailer sailors. Picture: Supplied

MORE than 100 boats will ensure the Heaven Can Wait Sailing Regatta on Lake Macquarie, at Toronto, will reach an impressive milestone this month.

Saturday, February 24, will see the 12th regatta which raises funds to provide in-home support for cancer patients in the Hunter.

In 2017, the Heaven Can Wait Regatta raised $33,000 for the cause. And this year, total proceeds from the 12 regattas will exceed $250,000.

The money is used to fund the Home Help Program, run by Cancer Council NSW, which provides domestic support to cancer patients while they are recovering from cancer treatment.

The regatta is organised and run by the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Toronto.

Vice Commodore Mel Steiner said it features a variety of contests, including a challenging 24-hour race, which tests the strength and stamina of some of the most experienced sailors in the region.

“It’s a gruelling event but I know all of the crews look forward to the test,” Mr Steiner said.

“The regatta has become a hugely popular event on the sailing calendar and also a great spectacle for those watching from the shore.”

A new inclusion this year is a handicap feature that will entitle the leading fund-raiser to a head start on their rivals.

“We thought the handicap feature would add a touch of spice and encourage fundraising amongst the boats, as well as get the competitive juices flowing,” Mr Steiner said.

The regatta will feature specially designed courses to cater for different types of vessels.

Among the events on offer will be a long 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 shorter courses for other yachts, multi-hulls, trailer sailors and off-the- beach vessels.

NEW RACE: Mel Steiner said the highest fundraiser would be given a head start on the field this year. Picture: David Stewart

NEW RACE: Mel Steiner said the highest fundraiser would be given a head start on the field this year. Picture: David Stewart

Heaven Can Wait was the brainchild of Lake Macquarie resident, keen sailor and cancer survivor Shaun Lewicki.

“Initially we wanted to raise funds for cancer research while also promoting sailing and the scenic Lake Macquarie region,” Mr Lewicki said. 

“After liaising with Cancer Council NSW, we decided we would like funds from the regatta to establish a home-support program for cancer patients in the Hunter.

“Now for the fourth consecutive year, the event has enabled over 285 families affected by cancer to receive in-home support to remove some of the stress associated with a cancer diagnosis.”

This year’s Heaven Can Wait Regatta, over February 24 to 25, will again be a part of Lakefest, a week-long celebration of aquatic activity on Lake Macquarie.

Lakefest runs from Saturday, February 17, to Sunday, March 4.

The regatta will be launched with a charity dinner on Friday, February 23, at Royal Motor Yacht Club, Toronto.

Artemis America’s Cup team member, Brett Ellis, and cancer researcher, Dr Craig Gedye, will be guest speakers.

Tickets for the dinner cost $55, and include a two-course dinner and wine.

To book your tickets, phone 0419 902466 or email hcwdinner@rmyctoronto.com.au

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