Newcastle Herald

LakefestAdvertising Feature

Set sail with Lakefest 2022Advertising Feature

Many of the Lakefest events are charity fundraisers.

- Lakefest spokesperson and Vice Commodore - RMYC Toronto, Mel Steiner
ACQUATIC CELEBRATION: Lakefest runs this year from January 26 to February 26 and is a celebration of Lake Macquarie's blue water lifestyle and rich maritime history. Picture: Supplied

Lakefest is an annual aquatic festival celebrating all things boating on beautiful Lake Macquarie.

This year's festival will be bigger than ever with active and passive events for all ages over a whole month from January 26 to February 26.

"Lakefest was created by a number of Lake Macquarie clubs in 2013, following a highly successful Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta," says Lakefest spokesperson and Royal Motor Club - Toronto Commodore Mel Steiner. "A debrief realised there was an opportunity to create an aquatic festival that promoted sailing, other water-based activities, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Region in general. Since then it has grown year on year."

Many Lakefest events are charity fundraisers with almost $60,000 raised in 2020.

"This year's beneficiaries will be the Hunter branch of the Cancer Council of NSW, The Samaritans and Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue," Mel said.

Lakefest 2022 opens on Australia Day, with the hugely popular Wangi Amateur Sailing Club (WASC) Australia Day Regatta. WASC has been running this spectacular event for the last 26 years, and 2022 sees it incorporated into Lakefest for the first time.

The Australia Day Regatta be followed by a Combined Twilight Race at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club (LMYC) on January 28.

This will be the curtain-raiser for the first round of the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club Lakefest Regatta with up to 70 yachts expected for an RKR Interclub buoy course race on January 29.

Round two will be Interclub windward/leeward races on February 12 on the LMYC, Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto (RMYCT) and WASC courses.

On the weekend of February 5-6, there'll be the hugely popular Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta, hosted by Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto.

While raising money for cancer support, sailors will circumnavigate the lake in a Dinghy Dash, One-Lap Dash, 12-Hour Challenge and the 24-Hour Classic Endurance Race.

The Classic Boatfest Boat Bits Bonanza will be held at Rathmines Park on Sunday, February 6, hosted by Lake Macquarie Classic Boats Association.

Friday, February 11 Wangi Amateur Sailing Club will host a Combined Twilight Race with a tender service so sailors can anchor and enjoy the after-race entertainment at the club.

The following day, February 12, the Classic Boatshed will conduct its annual "Raid" on Toronto, as the superbly restored St Ayles skiff rows out from Rathmines bound for the Royal Motor Yacht Club.

Also at RMYC, on February 13, there'll be the second running of the club's annual She Skippers Race.

This year, Wangi Amateur Sailing Club is hosting the Lakefest Ball, on February 19 in the beautifully restored Rathmines Hall.

Finally, buckle your swashes as Lakefest concludes with the Belmont 16s Junior Pirate Fun Day, on February 26.

For more information:

Cruising in the spotlightAdvertising Feature

The Cruising event will provide a social focus and also an opportunity to link in with other Lakefest events scheduled that weekend.

- Lake Macquarie Yacht Club Commodore Geoff Edman
SOCIAL FOCUS: The Lake Macquarie Cruising Division event will be open to all and appeal to those with motor cruisers and sail boats who don't necessarily want to race competively. Picture: Supplied

Lakefest will include a Cruising Division event for the very first time in 2022 running over the weekend of February 5-6.

Hosted by Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, the cruising division will run in conjunction with other Lakefest events that weekend, including the Heaven Can Wait Charity Regatta and Classic Boat Bits Bonanza.

The addition exemplifies how Lakefest has expanded in recent years to provide something for everyone. Cruising will officially commence at Rathmines Park on Saturday, February 5 with a 10am briefing. Some participants may decide to gather on the Friday and anchor up overnight.

Boats will then cruise in company around the Lake, with participants encouraged to undertake skills exercises at various locations.

The fleet will then anchor up on Saturday night back at Rathmines Park with a BYO gathering ashore.

This will also provide a convenient opportunity next day to visit the Boat Bits Bonanza being hosted by the Lake Macquarie Classic Boats Association at Rathmines Park.

"It's the first time ever for Lakefest that there will be a cruising event," LMYC Commodore Geoff Edman said.

"It will be open to all and appeal to those with motor cruisers and sail boats who don't necessarily want to race that weekend.

"For many it will be just another reason to have a sail or cruise around the lake with somewhere to go at the end.

"It will provide not only a social focus but also an opportunity to link in with other Lakefest events that weekend like the Heaven Can Wait Regatta and Boat Bits Bonanza."

The LMYC Cruising Division was established in 1985 to encourage and support sailors undertake cruises both on Lake Macquarie and further afield.

The LMYC Cruising Division recognises that cruising typically happens on boats with crew numbers that are much smaller than on race boats.

The smaller crew imposes different requirements for equipment and skills and members are encouraged to understand these challenges and develop the equipment and skills required for safe and enjoyable cruising.

LMYC's Cruising Division represents around 80 boats, and 160 members and holds a monthly meeting at the LMYC, with each meeting including a guest speaker focusing on aspects of cruising including cruising experiences, sailing skills equipment and safety.

Monthly on-water activities are held on the lake, with annual trips to other locations including Pittwater and Newcastle.

The LMYC Cruising Division welcomes any visitors who wish to join in the Lakefest Cruising Division event.

All Lakefest events are subject to government health orders regarding Covid restrictions.

For more information, visit

Classics to float your boatAdvertising Feature

You'll find all sorts of stuff floating about.

- Lake Macquarie Classic Boats Association president Bill Coote
CLASSIC HITS: The Boat Bits Bonanza at Rathmines Park on Sunday, February 6 is a great way to savour Lakefest celebrations in a fun, free and family friendly environment.

The Boats Bit Bonanza car boot sale, hosted by Lake Macquarie Classic Boat Association (LMCBA), is a time-honoured feature of Lakefest celebrations.

Being held this year at Rathmines Park on Sunday, February 6, the bonanza appeals to boaters and non-boaters alike, promoting all things acquatic on Lake Macquarie in a fun, free and family-friendly environment.

"The Boat Bits Bonanza is primarily a car boot sale for people with a shed full of stuff out there that they, or maybe their partners, might want them to get rid of," LMCBA president Bill Coote said.

"You'll find all sorts of stuff floating about.

"We charge $10 a site and people set up in Rathmines Park from about 8am onwards.

"It's a lovely laidback location at the old RAAF Catalina base, just behind the hall and a great setting for the Boat Bits Bonanza.

"People come along and browse and maybe might find something they've been looking for for a long time.

"They also get to join in the Lakefest celebrations and witness the great work we do with the Classic Boats Association."

The LMCBA is open to boaters and non-boaters alike and has an array of projects underway at any given time.

"We build replica boats, we restore boats, we have regular sailing and rowing sessions each week," Bill said.

"Ultimately we're about generating interest in any lake-related activities."

A classic example, pun intended, of restoration work, is LMCBA's St Ayles skiff, a replica of a Scottish rescue boat from the 1800s.

"We draw on the skills of boats builders in our membership to build these vessels and we work to pass on the skills to anyone interested," Bill said.

"We also have an additional rowing boat called a Sheerwater, that members row regularly on Tuesday and Thursday morning."

As well as the St Ayles Skiff and Sheerwater, LMCBA is also restoring two putts putts and recently received a $5000 Community Grant to build two Pittwater skulls.

"We're actually building four of them," Bill said. "We also have people making oars - absolute works of art they are. Sourced from Canadian Cedar and Oregon, our members find that old painter planks that no longer pass OHS regulations make great oars and are in high demand."

LMCBA is coordinating a "Raid" event this year around Toronto, as part of Lakefest.

"Raid groups exist all over the world and are made up of people in little sail boats - herons or mirrors for example - who go for a sail somewhere and then camp out overnight," Bill said.

"We're hoping to attract some Raiders up from Sydney and the Hawkesbury during Lakefest. We'll also have a great display of Classic speed boats on the day of the Bonanza with a variety of groups from up the coast making the trek down."

As with all activities during Lakefest, the Bonanza has a Covid-safety plan and is subject to government health orders.

Wangi lifting for LakefestAdvertising Feature

STEPPING UP: Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club will host the Australia Day Regatta this year as part of Lakefest celebrations, as well as a popular twilight event and the Commodores Ball. Picture: Supplied

Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club's (WASC) popular Australia Day Regatta will be incorporated into Lakefest celebrations for the first time this year.

WASC has run its Australia Day Regatta independently for the last 26 years as part of a nation-wide network of sailing events on Australia Day.

Those annual celebrations have been running for over 186 years, making it the longest running regatta in Australia.

This year organisers have decided to bring forward the start of Lakefest to January 26 to include Wangi's Australia Day Regatta.

"It made sense on many levels and is a prestigious coup for the club and Lakefest," club Commodore Tony Outteridge said.

"It's open to yachts and trailer sailors and starts midday Australia Day at Wangi and finishes back at Wangi RSL, which is also the official race sponsor.

"It's a competitive event, but also very social with food and entertainment in the beer garden at the end of the day.

"Divisional winners will be invited to Sydney Town Hall later on to be presented with medallions as part of the wider national Australia Day Regatta celebrations."

Wangi is also partnering with Lake Macquarie Yacht Club (LMYC) to run two Twilight Sailing events through Lakefest.

The first, scheduled on Friday, January 28 will finish at LMYC's base at Belmont.

The second twilight race, running Friday, February 11, will finish at Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club's headquarters at Wangi RSL.

"Again there will be entertainment and prizes at the conclusion of both races," Tony said.

"Wangi has hosted a Twilight race at Lakefest for a number of years, and it was very popular so there was a request to expand.

"Both races are non-spinnaker events so they're both very social too, with free entry.

"Basically the aim is to encourage people to come along and be part of Lakefest."

Wangi's involvement in Lakefest 2022 also includes hosting the Commodore's Ball, another major Lakefest fundraising event.

"Lakefest clubs rotate the responsibility each year and in 2022 it's our turn," Tony said.

"The ball is supported by Lake Macquarie City Council and will be held on Saturday, February 19 at the fully renovated Rathmines Theatre which is part of the old Rathmines RAAF base.

"It will be a formal event, fully catered with entertainment and guest speaker on the night.

Basically we're encouraging people to come along and be part of Lakefest.

- Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club spokesperson Tony Outteridge

"This year's guest is local sailor and Olympic gold medalist Iain Jensen who has recently endured a serious cancer scare.

"He'll be talking about his experiences and money raised will go towards cancer research.

"Like all Lakefest events, it will be subject to government health advice around Covid.

"Tickets are available on the Wangi website -"