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Chelsea Williams: an Aussie sailor girl with high talent & big dreams!

by Jenny Sorensen 7 Apr 2018 00:52 BST
Chelsea Williams at the Belmont 16ft SC presentation night © Jenny Sorensen

Chelsea Williams is one inspiring young sailor dedicated to her love & passion for the sport. At age 14, she is accomplishing what others only dream to achieve, jumping from Class to Class, and collecting a host of Championship Titles & awards, coaching kids and being trained by some of the best sailors in the country.

Chelsea is a member of the Belmont 16ft Skiff Club on Lake Macquarie NSW Australia, where she began sailing at 8 years of age. At her club's presentation night recently, she was presented Trophies for being the Pelican Club Champion and Flying 11 Yearly Point score Winner. Chelsea started her sailing career as a crew on a Pelican. By the age of nine, Chelsea was crewing on a Flying 11 with a 15-year-old local sailor (Tom Grimes). Over the season, the pair won Club, Youth, State, and R/U National Championships. A great introduction to Flying 11 racing.

Her father, Dean Williams himself plays an inspirational role. He holds titles for Australian Champion on VJs and 16ft Skiffs, Elliot 5.9s, and Melges 24s. Dean also sailed 18ft Skiffs and is a Worlds & Nationals competitor in 505s. In addition, he competes in off shore racing, with a number of top 3 places in Sydney to Southport Yacht Races, and IRC National Titles. Dean has also sailed on super maxis including 5 Sydney-Hobarts with Lahana, and numerous sails on Wild Oats IX.

During this Easter long weekend, Chelsea skippered a Tasar with her Dad as forward hand, at the NSW State Titles north of Sydney. Her only experience on a Tasar was two practice sails in the week leading up to the 3 day / 9 race event. Racing in amongst a fiercely competitive 27-boat fleet of ex-World, National & State Title holders, Chelsea secured the Divisional Trophies of Junior & Female Helm, finishing 11th overall. The Class looks forward to Chelsea entering again next year to defend her titles.

Juggling Year 9 high school work, Chelsea takes time out to teach kids in 'Tackers' learn to sail groups, and attends Australian Sailing Accredited coaching clinics. She is an amazingly motivated girl with an immense talent and spirit to undertake the skills of sailing and racing. Another class Chelsea is very familiar with is the Open BIC, which saw her compete in Sail Melbourne's World Cup Final in 2016, and last winter's NZ Open BIC Cup which was coached by America's Cup legend Sir Russell Coutts. According to Dean, Pelicans, Flying 11's and Open BIC racing, is not enough; there are now 3 more boats on her Santa's wish list this year, including a 29er, which she had the opportunity in skippering through March. Match racing is also on the agenda, providing another opportunity to attend fleet and match racing competitions nationally and internationally.

Chelsea's goal is to compete at an Olympic Games on a 49er. The goal to sail at the Olympics was influenced a few years back when Lake Macquarie Olympic and America's Cup sailors Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen took Chelsea 49er sailing, letting her steer the boys around the waters of Wangi for a few hours.

Her father's close friend from 505 and skiff days, twice Olympic 470 Gold Medallist Malcolm Page is her idol. Chelsea has the luxury of receiving personal mentoring and inspiration from Malcolm and a number of professional sailors. Next season Chelsea will be racing the Pelican and Flying 11 with two local brothers, Tully and Banjo. They are the sons of Chris Nicholson, Watch Captain currently on board VOR yacht 'AkzoNobel', who in combination shall be adding another influence and coach for her on his return to Australia.

There's no doubt that Chelsea Williams is a very talented & determined young sailor girl, who shares her love of sailing with family, sailing mates, fellow competitors and children learning to sail. At 14 years old, the excitement & adventures of sailing have just begun. She may however, have to wait just a little bit longer for Santa to deliver those must 'wish list items'!

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