High winds take toll on fleet contesting the 2019 Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta on Lake Macquarie

FULL SAILS: High winds made for challenging conditions during the recent Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta on Lake Macquarie. Picture: Greg Dickens
FULL SAILS: High winds made for challenging conditions during the recent Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta on Lake Macquarie. Picture: Greg Dickens

WINDS of 30-plus knots took their toll on the fleet contesting the 2019 Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta's overnight races on Lake Macquarie.

"Many competitors experienced gear failure and only six of the 15 boats entered in the 24-hour race completed the 24 hours of racing," race director and vice-commodore of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Toronto, Mel Steiner, said.

Tasha, a Lake Macquarie Yacht Club catamaran, took out line honors in the 24-hour race.

"Sixty boats were registered to start in the regatta but three boats from outside Lake Macquarie dropped out before the start because of the forecast weather conditions and the difficulty of getting back to their home ports," Mr Steiner said.

"We also know of other boats that did not put an entry in for the same reason or because of concerns about the depth of the Swansea channel.”

Line honors for the One-Lap Dash – a 30 nautical mile dash around the length and breadth of the lake - went to Andrew Sim sailing a Moth, Out Of The Blue.

Mr Sim also took out the overall handicap position and Division 1 Handicap, and broke Nathan Outteridge's 2013 record for the One-Lap Dash completing the circuit in a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 20 seconds.

Second across the line was Ric Black on a kite board and third was Nathan Outteridge and sister Hayley on a Nacra foiling catamaran.

Pre-race entertainment featured aerobatic pilot Paul Bennett who put on a display for competitors and the local community in front of the club.

The Heaven Can Wait (HCW) Charity Sailing Regatta is a fundraiser primarily for the Hunter branch of Cancer Council NSW and their Home Help Program.

Some funds are also raised for Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie who provide on-water support during the regatta.

TOP SPEED: Nathan and Hayley Outteridge pilot their Nacra on the first leg to Speers Point. The regatta is expected to raise about $40,000 for charity. Picture: Greg Dickens

TOP SPEED: Nathan and Hayley Outteridge pilot their Nacra on the first leg to Speers Point. The regatta is expected to raise about $40,000 for charity. Picture: Greg Dickens

Funds are raised via corporate sponsorship, a charity dinner and auction, race entry fees, and fundraising activities on the part of competitors and crew, their friends, family and work associates.

Mr Steiner said the funds raised at this year's event were still being calculated, but were expected to be less than the amount raised in 2018 – a record year -  mainly because much of the available charity funds had been directed to drought relief.

"We do, however, expect to raise in the order of $40,000 from this year’s regatta," Mr Steiner said.

"In total, over $300,000 has been raised through the HCW [over the years] in support of the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW.”

The HCW is part of Lakefest, a two-week celebration of aquatic activity on Lake Macquarie.

More information on Heaven Can Wait and Lakefest is available at heavencanwait.com.au and lakefest.com.au.

Full race results can be viewed at rmyctoronto.com.au/race-results.

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