sail-world.com -- Junior sailing – Onwards and upwards on Port Stephens
Junior sailing – Onwards and upwards on Port Stephens
Thu, 7 Mar 2013
Sail Port Stephens 2013, will run for the sixth time from Monday 15th to Sunday 21st April 2013. Now the second largest regatta sailed in NSW, the event is having a strong impact on the local sailing scene.
Karen Nye from the Port Stephens Sailing and Aquatic Club (PSSAC) says 'the Club is thrilled once again to be the host venue for the Sail Port Stephens Off the Beach Junior regatta in 2013.'
'We anticipate an increase in the number of sailors participating in the event this year with three classes of dinghies´- Optimists, O’Pen Bic’s and Flying 11’s.
‘PSSAC is the perfect venue for the junior event with wonderful club facilities and perfect off the beach launching areas for all classes. The venue is also great for spectators to enjoy the action, with the on water activities taking place straight out the front of the club on the protected waters of Salamander Bay.
'Our club has seen continued growth again this season, with another 30 juniors participating in our Learn to Sail Programs. We will be encouraging them all to take part in the Junior regatta. It’s very rewarding to see the juniors on the water every Sunday and to have them involved with an event such as Sail Port Stephens makes all the hard work worthwhile. The children just love sailing. I’m proud of them all and very proud of all the volunteers at PSSAC who will be on hand once again to assist with the Sail Port Stephens Off the Beach Junior regatta in 2013. It will be another great end to the sailing season.'
‘We expect to see sailors from Forster's Great Lakes Sailing Club, and from Sydney and from Victoria and Queensland. It is great timing because it is in the school holidays so that is always very favourable to have the event then so the children and their families can enjoy Port Stephens as well as the regatta so that’s great.
‘It’s definitely onwards and upwards and it is really great for juniors in the Port Stephens area to have the opportunity to sail in a regatta such as this and to have a club like our own where they can come along and meet new friends and sail together and just enjoy such an exhilarating sport.’
Karen is not alone in her view. Sail Port Stephens is playing an important part in the development of sailing in the region says Soldiers Point Sailing School Head instructor Graham Oborn, four World Laser Master titles. Now 73, Graham is the current Australian Laser Great Grand Masters Champion. With the strong support of Jeff DÁlbora of Soldiers Point Marina, Oborn set up the sailing school, which operates up to four days a week, sailing with Optimist dinghies.
Graham said today ‘The waters of Port Stephens are a major asset for our community. This is a great location for both keelboat and dinghy sailing.’ When the Olympic 470 class had their Australian Championships Series here last month, London 2012 Gold Medalist Mat Belcher commented that this is a perfect sailing venue. He contrasted it to the Sydney Harbour dodgem course. ‘It provides very fair sailing and it’s clear this will in the years to come be the venue for many State, National and International Sailing events and we want our local children to have opportunities to be involved in this sport.’
‘Through our Sailing School, with the commitment from Jeff DÁlbora, our local high school students can now embrace sailing as their selective sport as part of the Department of Education program. The Yachting Australia training program we follow, will turn out very proficient young sailors that will go through to State and National regatta levels and that is what the aim is. We would like to think that we are breeding the next group of Olympians from our region to follow on from Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen, Taylor Corry and Tom Slingsby.
Our high school training program has been running for 18 months and, for our students, the Sail Port Stephens Junior Regatta is the next step in their development. The Optimist class is the largest children´s sailing class in Australia and the World and I believe that in years to come the number of boats in the Junior regatta fleets could easily rival that of the Senior at Sail Port Stephens.’