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Harken SA Summer of Sail returns as state bounces back ahead of COVID-affected season

by Down Under Sail 17 Sep 09:17 BST 28 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

South Australian sailors are set for an exciting summer of sailing when the state welcomes the return of the Harken SA Summer of Sail Festival.

The event has been set up for local sailors to adjust to a new-look season following the cancellation of a number of national championships due to COVID-19.

The Harken SA Summer of Sail Festival will run from 28 December 2020 through to 10 January 2021 at three of Adelaide's premier off-the-beach clubs; Brighton & Seacliff, Adelaide and Largs Bay; giving sailors strong local competition without the need to travel interstate.

"The Christmas-New Year period is always reserved for national championships and the traditional interstate road trips that come with it," festival coordinator Harry Fisher said.

"However due to COVID-19 so many of our national events have been cancelled and sailors and clubs are hungry for some exciting local sailing at that time.

"South Australia has done incredibly well during this pandemic, and this festival is a reward for effort for our sailing community, giving them a chance to compete in a major event without the need to cross the border."

The event will be made up of three separate four-day regattas at the three clubs with each of them focusing on specific groups of classes, and classes being given the choice of which regattas they want to be a part of.

"Our host clubs all wanted to be part of something special this summer given everything that's going on in the world right now, and this format gives all of them something unique, while still being part of the bigger picture," Harry said.

The entire event has also been backed from the outset by iconic sailing hardware brand Harken, who jumped on board as the Major Festival Partner from day one.

Harken Australia's Grant Pellew said he was excited to be involved with the event as it was a great chance for clubs to pool together and continue to grow the sport in what are difficult times.

"There is a great growth opportunity for clubs currently and the Harken SA Summer of Sail takes this opportunity to its fullest and presents a carnival atmosphere that is inviting to the public," he said.

"For us, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing clubs coming together to promote sailing and this event is designed to get the sailors out where they love, and also bring family and friends along to enjoy the Aussie beach lifestyle.

"We cannot think of anything better than getting the sailors together and out sailing again."

Adelaide Sailing Club sailing manager Nicci Edwards said it had been an uncertain lead up to the new season for the local clubs, however the SA Summer of Sail would provide some much-needed excitement for competitors and volunteers as COVID restrictions continue to ease.

"The normal format of sailing events in Australia has been flipped on its head this year, so we are excited to still have something to participate in locally," she said.

"This festival will put our sport on show to the public and give coastal communities a chance to experience what's great about local water sports."

A number of community showcase activities are planned for the event as well, with more details to follow in the coming weeks, and more information can be found at www.sasummerofsail.com.au.

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