Please select your home edition
Edition
Lancer 40 years

Sail Port Stephens - Splash of cash buoys Port economy

by Mark Rothfield on 24 Apr 2013
2013 Sail Port Stephens Craig Greenhill Saltwater Images - SailPortStephens http://www.saltwaterimages.com.au
At any yacht club on twilight racing night, there’s a throng of eligible lads and gorgeous ladies draped on each other’s arm, talking tacking duels and share trends until finally they get married, buy a house, have two kids and get a yacht of their own.

At this point in their lives they will go to Sail Port Stephens. That’s the loose theory, anyway, and it’s borne out by hard statistics showing that the sailing regatta, now in its seventh year, brings a substantial injection of visitors and tourism income to the NSW coastal township, just as winter is set to descend.


Over three days of racing from April 19 to 21, there were more than 120 boats locked in combat, and in the preceding days around 40 of these contested the Commodore’s Cup. Each yacht had a minimum of four, some as many as 12, crewmen and crew-women aboard – averaging around 600 sailors on the water at any given time.

For every person who sails, chances are they will be accompanied by friends and family members who don’t – in the case of the larger yachts it’s potentially 50 to 60 people, akin to bringing a small conference to town for a week.

On the event periphery will be sailing industry representatives, race committee folk and media crews, all needing to be accommodated, transported, fed and watered.

Spend-per-visitor figures are sketchy but government estimates suggest it is $131 per person for overnight trips and $104 for day trips, which quickly surpasses $200,000 for every day of Sail Port Stephen. And since BOAT is supposedly an acronym for Bring Out Another Thousand, this is a demographic that spends more than average.

As the money ultimately winds up in the weekly pay cheques of staff from clubs, restaurants, food outlets and shops, it will continue to buoy the local economy.

Michael Aylmer, chair of Port Stephens Tourism, feels the community is increasingly embracing the regatta: 'As an event it has grown from next-to-nothing to one gaining recognition up and down the coast, but there’s plenty of space and a lot of places for boaties to go … drop off the wheel as it were.'


Tars Bylhouwer from Port Stephens Tourism confirms that the ripples extend well beyond the direct impact of the event itself.

'The cash injection is huge and there’s a lot of on-flow – it is setting us up as a sailing destination,' he said. 'Yachties used to say that Port Stephens had too many shallow areas but when you look at the maps the port is 2½ times the size of Sydney Harbour and the sandbanks represent a very small proportion of that. If you exclude them it’s still double the size of Sydney Harbour.


'For residents, sailing becomes a prominent sport, kids get a chance to get involved, and there are all sorts of social benefits shooting off from that. They are big ticket items we tend to focus on here because tourism is not just a dollar thing, it is part and parcel of our lives.'

The region’s marketing efforts highlight the natural attributes – beaches, waterways, marine park and national park – and the outdoor experiences than can be enjoyed therein. Sail Port Stephens is an ideal fit for both categories.

The Commodore of regatta host club Corlette Point Sailing Association, Dom Grundy, also manages the Salamander Hotel and says the April timing is perfect from a commercial perspective.


'To bring them all into town at one time is significant. The Hotel will go very close to filling up, where it doesn’t normally,' he said. 'It brings focus to the town and reminds people in Sydney we’re only two hours away if they want a weekend away.'

Not surprisingly, Port Stephens is now NSW’s number three destination for short-breaks.

Sail Port Stephens 2013 was a great success in spite of the East Coast Low, with the inshore waterways providing great racing. With the Australian IRC (Grand Prix) Championships being raced off Newcastle, the week after Sail Port Stephens another record fleet is expected and that too is more good news for the region.

Lancer Not EqualGuy Nowell - Red 660Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Aquila 44 – Lots to love
As a craft, she is quite impressive. Even from the moment you approach her on the quay. As a craft, she is quite impressive. Even from the moment you approach her on the quay. There is something about the Aquila 44, her own je ne sais quoi, if you like. Proportionally she is just right, everything is in the correct place, and with a modern flair, yet one that is not going to date overnight. I think her presence is in her stance, which is kind of funny, given she is a cat.
Posted on 7 Jul
Seabin- Saving the world, one marina at a time
Now and then you hear of an idea that’s so jaw-droppingly simple and yet so effective that it makes you shake your head Every now and then you hear of an idea that’s so jaw-droppingly simple and yet so effective that it makes you shake your head and wonder, ‘why not me’? Such is the case with the Seabin project, an automated marina rubbish bin that was designed to help remove plastic and other unsightly debris from the water.
Posted on 8 Jan
Eco-warriors Sea-Bin crowd sharing critical stage with nine days to go
The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised 86% of their target with 9 days left. The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised $198,020 of $230,000.00 with nine days left on their Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, but they need more help now.
Posted on 29 Dec 2015
Don’t be a Tosser – Not your usual environmental article!!
The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. There is no need for me to tell you the other meaning that is commonly used around the world. However in this article it will refer to both at the same time as someone who tosses trash into the ocean, truly is a tosser.
Posted on 3 Dec 2015
Pay attention, YOU can make a difference to the marine environment!!
THIS is a life exam subject and when you reach the Pearly Gates, your results today will count towards your destination OK, Sit up and pay attention, THIS is a life exam subject and when you reach the Pearly Gates, your results today will count towards your final destination
Posted on 16 Nov 2015
Flash and Crack is not a new pop band
To anyone who has been on an airliner hit by lightning, the flash and crack of the strike are vivid memories. To anyone who has been on an airliner hit by lightning, the flash and crack of the strike are vivid memories. It certainly gets your attention and when you land, all the technicians definitely run to the aircraft and give it a very close inspection. So now that we have heightened your senses, let us all remind ourselves that a lightning strike is not always fatal,
Posted on 15 Nov 2015
Scheduled server maintenance - 23 September GMT+2 11pm onwards
Scheduled server maintenance - 23rd September GMT + 2 11pm onwards Scheduled server maintenance - sites will be unavailable for some hours between 11pm and 7am GMT + 2
Posted on 23 Aug 2015
Pantaenius Insurance – How good does it get?
Insurance may not be the buzzword. There is not unobtanium for keels, spinach enhanced sails or vibranium fuel cells Insurance may not be the buzzword. There is not unobtanium for keels, spinach enhanced sails or hulls of cut diamond and vibranium fuel cells powering arc reactors to rave on about. No. It is numbers, facts, risk and documentation. Boring? No. Quite the contrary if you happen to have put your boat up on a reef or Hughie blows it off its mooring, smashes her through everything in sight...
Posted on 29 May 2015
Sail-World.com - Contributors Guidelines
Guidelines for sailors writing articles for publication on Sail-World.com Whether its information about yachts, catamarans or dinghies, or tales of your adventures on the water, there is always a story waiting to be told. Sail-World is happy to receive your articles - be it profiles of people and boats, techniques, safety or seamanship. Read on for the guidelines for submitting an article, including commercial articles - if the information is of value to our readers
Posted on 5 Jan 2015
Dutch boy on a mission to rid the world's oceans of floating plastic
Boyan Slat is a 20-year-old on a mission - to rid the planet's oceans of floating plastic. Boyan Slat is a 20-year-old on a mission - to rid the planet's oceans of floating plastic. He has dedicated his teenage years to finding a way of collecting it. But can the system really work - and is there any point when so much new plastic waste is still flowing into the sea every day?
Posted on 18 Oct 2014