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The need for innovation

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 14 Apr 23:00 BST
Cannonball flies her retro kite in to the beach turn - Cape Vlamingh Race © John Chapman (SailsOnSwan)

You know when a club can get 70 boats out for a mid-week twilight jaunt and then just half a dozen for Saturday windward/leewards that something is going on. It is not that sailing isn't something people want to do. Rather, time-poor individuals have to work to a full calendar, and an even fuller lifestyle at home, especially if children are involved.

It all means that a whilst the racing rules of sailing can still be put in a book, the bible about sailing has well and truly moved on to a digital only edition, and is as fluid and dynamic as the medium was built for, and thrives upon.

It was with that understanding that I looked closely at the racing off Fremantle. The Royal Freshwater Bay YC (and they like to be known as Freshies) embraced the prospect of change wonderfully in the last while. Participation is often used as the mantra for sailing, especially when the word future is residing in the same sentence or paragraph. Yet, it remains one that can be hard to demonstrate, explain and garner interest in. Ocean racing is certainly so, perhaps even to the power of ten.

So if boats are for water, and by and large people like land, then how do you get the two closer together? More often than not, the water gets shallow near the land, which is not so flash for yachts, and then there are those nasty bricks to deal with too. Yet quite a lot of locales around Australia, and the globe have great vantage points from which to look out over the sea. Some even have clubs, restaurants, and bars there to offer said views to the public.

Imagine then, ones that have all of required elements like deep water, charming outlooks, amenities for people to partake in, and lo and behold, racing yachts going past close by to them? Sounds terrific, and no doubt it was all of this that got the Freshies to thinking.

After their recent Cape Vlamingh Race, I asked the Freshies for additional comment about it all. Commodore Gary McNally stated, "It has been an initiative of RFBYC to showcase and interact with the community through our offshore yacht races. We are very lucky to have a long strip of friendly coastline in our city, allowing for the general public, team supporters and family to watch the racing up close. The café and restaurant strip along Cottesloe Beach has been chosen as one of the best places to engage the wider community."

"From the Barchetta beachfront cafe, I and a few friends, whilst sipping on our cappuccinos, watched the start then the first downwind leg with the rounding mark just offshore, before the yachts headed out to sea. This was colourful and exciting racing, and at times difficult to watch whilst explaining to the general public the art of sailing. Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club was pleased with this initiative, and extremely happy to interact with the public. Clubs often want to share the sport outside of the sailing community, and show that it is accessible to everyone. We hope that the exciting display of sail encourages people interested in sailing to visit us at RFBYC, or their nearest yacht club..."

Suzzi Ghent is responsible for ensuring we know what happens at RFBYC (thank you), and is also a dedicated Hobie sailor. After racing on Sunday, she said, "We had a tight battle for the club champs, it was fun."

As for the Cape Vlamingh Race last weekend, Ghent said, "It's so nice to have the two guys, Lindsay and John who are all over Perth at the moment following the sailing community, and taking pictures. Not because they want anything in return, just because they love the sport, and want to see it shared around."

I'd probably also say that it's not only exciting for the spectators ashore to know about the offshore yacht racing, and see it up close, but it's great for the sailors too. It was fantastic to see some of the teams sail right in close to the beach prior to the start to wave at their friends and family. We're keen to share the sport and encourage others to get involved, the sailing community know what a healthy environment we have. It's just fun seeing others enjoy it too."

So sometimes you need a lot of money, say like SailGP, and then other times just some dedicated and tireless people... Cheers to all of them, and thanks!

Right oh, here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about Sail Port Stephens, the European dinghy circuit has begun, IMOCAs, High School sailing, RC44s, Yacht Racing Forum, Phuket, Idec Sport to head to Asia, AC, Transat Jacques Vabre, Golden Globe Race, gear from B&G, Fastnet, Lasers, GC32, Waszps, news from Metung, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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