FOR diehard yachties, Easter weekend was spent off the coast at Newcastle.
Hosted by the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, the 2014 Audi IRC Australian (Keelboat) Championships attracted more than 400 racers, including stars of the sport America's Cup sailor and Olympian Gavin Brady and 2008 Sydney-to-Hobart winner Bob Steel.
Eight races were held in the four-day event (divided into three classes by boat size), with three national champions crowned.
Karl Knowk's TP52 New Zealand crew led the Beau Geste to a division A win.
Only Tony Kirby's Ker 46 Patrice and Bob Steel's TP52 Quest managed to take a win off team Beau Geste. They finished second and third on 15 and 19 points respectively to the victor's eight points.
Division B was a close call between two DK46s, Nine Dragons and Exile.
Bob Cox's Nine Dragons proved stronger, finishing in first place by four points.
Roger Hickman's 30-year-old Farr 43 Wild Rose, from Sydney, won division C, while Newcastle yachts Long Time Dead and Anger Management came sixth and seventh in the 10-boat fleet.
Lake Macquarie's Spirit, skippered by Ian Bower, was third on 21 points, while Newcastle's Schouten Passage placed fourth.