Junior sailors make top team
STUDENTS from the Bowen and Proserpine State High Schools and St Catherine's Catholic College joined forces last weekend to represent the region at a sailing event in Townsville.
Seven students competed in the first round of the North Queensland Schools Teams Racing event and came home with a near-perfect record.
In fact, the Whitsunday team won seven of their scheduled eight races.
Whitsunday team spokesman Anthony Hoffman whose 15-year-old son Brendan was among the rising young sailing stars, said this was an exceptional result, especially considering some of the juniors had never experienced teams racing before.
Five teams – four from Townsville – competed in the match racing event, with Mr Hoffman attributing the Whitsunday team’s success to great pairing of skippers and crew.
“Each team is made up of three skippers, three crew and one reserve – we swap them around and our skippers are very experienced,” he explained.
The skippers – Hamish Swain, Aidan Gummow and Brendan Hoffman – all under 16 – have previously competed in national events.
Among their crew, Mr Hoffman said Mitchell McConnel and Eli Winton had “never really sailed in any sort of regatta before” while Jasmin Tickle and Lachlan McConnel have been “sailing for a while”.
The temperature in Towns- ville was hot but the building afternoon breeze kept conditions on the water bearable for the teams, who are now looking forward to round two of the event.
Weather permitting this will be hosted by the Port De- nison Sailing Club in Bowen this coming weekend.
Mr Hoffman said this would be an example of exciting close quarter racing with marks set close to the shore. He advised spectators wanting to watch “some very tech- nical sailing” to head to the Bowen jetty for a slice of the action on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. Currently the Whitsunday team are top of the leaderboard ahead of their nearest rivals, Townsville-based Pimlico Gold.
LINE OF ATTACK: Whitsunday sailors from the combined schools team heading out to race on the waters off Townsville last weekend.
WINNING SMILES: The combined Whitsunday schools team consisting of Mitchell McConnel, Brendan Hoffman, Eva Lorenz (coach) Jasmin Tickle, Aidan Gummow, Lachie McConnel, Eli Winton and Hamish Swain, won seven of their eight races in Townsville last weekend.