The most unique sailing event on Lake Macquarie, the Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta, returns for its thirteenth year in February 2019 to continue its quest to raise funds for cancer patients in the Hunter.

Around 80 boats are expected to take part, and proceeds from the event fund the Home Help Program, overseen by Cancer Council NSW, which provides domestic support to cancer patients who are in need of help around the home.

The Regatta is organised and run by the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Toronto and features a variety of events including a 24 hour endurance race, which will test the strength and stamina of some of the most experienced sailors from both Lake Macquarie and other ports in the state.

“It’s a challenging event – particularly the 24 Hour Endurance Race, but I know all of the crews look forward to the test,” said Mel Steiner, Vice Commodore, the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto. “I recall one crew member, a lady, describing it as like giving birth, but you come back for more,” said Mr Steiner.

In addition to the 24 Hour endurance race, the Regatta will feature specially designed courses to cater for different types of vessels. Other events include a Classic One Lap Dash for Yachts, Trailer Sailers, Multi Hulls and larger Off The Beach vessels, a 12 Hour Challenge race for Yachts, Trailer Sailers and Multi Hulls, and a shorter course for other Yachts, Trailer Sailers, Multi Hulls and off-the-beach vessels.

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, particularly men’s cancers, but also promote sailing and the Lake Macquarie region,” said Mr Lewicki. 

“Cancer Council NSW identified the worthiness of a Home Help Program in the Hunter, so for the fifth consecutive year, the event will directly fund this program. The Program provides domestic assistance to both recovering and terminal cancer patients who, because of their illness, are unable to perform many of the home duties they would normally do,” said Mr Lewicki.

The Regatta will commence with a Charity Dinner on Friday, February 22 at the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto where Tom Braidwood, participant in several Volvo Round The World Yacht Races and Erica Kirby, International Protest Judge will be the guests interviewed by well known ABC Newcastle Sports Commentator, Helene O’Neill.  

The Regatta start on Saturday morning will also feature an outstanding aerobatic display by well known Hunter Region pilot, Paul Bennet, in front of the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Toronto at 10am.

The 2019 Heaven Can Wait Regatta takes place from February 23 to 24 as part of Lakefest, a two-week celebration of aquatic activity on Lake Macquarie running from February 16 to March 3.

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

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