This March through April 2017, set sail on an exhilarating program of ocean racing and leisure sails that explore the magnificent waterways, captivating natural beauty and genuine hospitality unique to this tightly held haven on the East Coast of Australia.
This year, for the first time, a raft of exciting sailing events will run in conjunction with the 10 year anniversary of Sail Port Stephens – Australia’s fastest growing yachting regatta. It’s a discovery-packed season of sailing not to be missed!
Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine park is among of the most extraordinary marine playgrounds in Australia
If you love to sail you will love Port Stephens
The Port Stephens Season of Sailing unfolds in the world-class setting of a 98,000-hectare marine park, more than twice the size of Sydney Harbour and rich in breathtaking natural beauty. Vast expanses of open ocean are peppered with magnificent off-shore islands – their rocky shorelines a dramatic backdrop to competitive sailing.
Like the wind-swept slopes of beautiful Broughton Island with its volcanic peaks and craggy headland, a known rookery for silver gulls. Or the imposing silhouette of Mount Tomaree as you sail into Port. Linked back to the mainland by a low sandspit the island is home to a historic lighthouse and the original lighthouse keeper’s cottage.
Immerse in the sport & be swept up in the spectacle as the big guns of the sailing world take to the waterways around Port Stephens for our Season of Sailing
A lead-in event to Sail Port Stephens is the Newcastle to Port Stephens race on April 2. An off-shore coastal dash with a few bends and twists, it’s a fun and challenging start to the season for competitors of varying skill levels and takes in spectacular Port Stephens scenery.
Scheduled for the first three days of the week to follow, The Commodores Cup on April 3-5 is an event that sees fleets of performance yachts make the pilgrimage from Sydney Harbour and Pittwater. Year after year they are drawn to experience the world-class cruising locations and varied sailing conditions.
Ending the week on a high note will be the NSW IRC Championships, Sport Boat National Championships, Super 12 state championships and Port Stephens Trophy Series, scheduled for the final three days, April 7-9.
Sailing at leisure is an enjoyable experience throughout the season and year-round in the aquamarine, waters of our many bays and secluded coves. Awarding sheltered sailing in all weather conditions, these are among the best anchorages in Australia. Fringed by white sandy beaches and protected estuaries the waters team with exotic marine species – many of which can be found only in Port Stephens Waters!
Spending the day sailing around Port Stephens then gliding into a bay to enjoy a spectacular sunset with family and friends while feasting on fresh local oysters and prawns is all part of the experience!
It’s this that makes Port Stephens a favoured training ground for junior sailors. Port Stephens is playing host to the ever popular Junior One Sail Dinghy Division Off The Beach Regatta during the first week of the school holidays – April 11-13.
Throughout the Season of Sailing, there will be loads of activities and entertainment for kids and families both on and off the water! Among the many highlights:
- Ride a camel over sand dunes to the waterfront
- Have a blast sandboarding down the largest moving sand dunes in The Southern Hemisphere
- Feel the thrill of soaring 300 feet in the air for spectacular birds-eye views of Port Stephens
- Try jet-skiing for high-speed adventure out on the water
- Take to the waves with the premier surfing school on the NSW coast.
- Explore the dunes on a quad bike adventure tour
- Enjoy abundant native flora and fauna on a nature trail or trek to the summit of Tomaree headland
- Take a dolphin watching cruise to meet the local bottlenose dolphins first-hand or try spotting them in the harbour
Women Who Sail have mapped out their moment in paradise on the weekend of April 1-2 when the Port will host female sailors from all over Australia and around the world with a series of entertaining seminars. The annual gathering is anticipating its strongest ever turn-out of yachtswomen.
A Saturday evening social dinner at D’Albora Marina is open to the broader boating community with proceeds going toward Sailors With Disabilities and Volunteer Marine Rescue charities. Highlights include guest speakers Lin Pardey, a world-renowned writer and pioneering spirit who has clocked over 200,000 sea miles in a home-built timber yacht; Paralympic sailing gold medallist Liesl Tesch and Ink-slinger, swashbuckler and encourager Jackie Parry, among other inspirational women!
‘Whether you’re a championship sailor or contemplating giving sailing a go, this is the weekend to meet, network, share knowledge and learn as part of the sailing sisterhood!‘
Sail Port Stephens – this is what it’s all about
The fastest growing regatta on the Australian sailing calendar, Sail Port Stephens is an internationally recognised yachting event, now with a dynamic social and entertainment program woven into the bigger picture of the Season of Sailing Port Stephens.
Tactically, the location lends itself to a variety of courses that balance challenge with scenery. There are strong currents, shallow depths and unpredictable winds to keep contenders on their toes within the scope of a safe haven that caters for all levels of sailing ability – including teens as there is no age restriction.
Not surprising given its considerable natural assets and accessibility for major city centres, Port Stephens has a well established sailing culture with close ties to major clubs at Newcastle and Lake Macquarie as well as those of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The port is alive with sailing activity year-round.
The Season of Sailing is just the beginning!
tis The Season. . . Sail Port Stephens!
Sail, stay and play
So many iconic events coming together as a Season of Sailing Port Stephens means it’s now easier and more affordable than ever before to take part. It all takes place within a pleasant 2 1/2 hour drive from Sydney or fly into nearby Newcastle Airport direct from Canberra, Melbourne, Dubbo, Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
With a choice of three marinas available within the port and an equally diverse dining culture to be enjoyed on-shore, it’s little wonder this part of the world is the destination of choice all year round for those serious about sailing!
You’ll find a range of accommodation available to suit any budget from the water frontage and decadent décor of Anchorage Resort on the outcrop of Corlette to beach cottages and welcoming B&B’s within walking distance of the sailing action. The local accommodation experts at Port Stephens Accommodation will help you find the best fit for your needs and budget.
The events program is timed to wrap-up before the Easter Long Weekend, so take the opportunity to extend your stay and enjoy more of all that the popular holiday destination has to offer.
For accommodation bookings visit www.portstephens.org.au/stay-in-port-stephens
Photo Credit: Craig Greenhill / Saltwater Images (Sail Port Stephens)