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  • Writer's pictureTim Kannegieter

Juniors compete at NSW State Sabot Championships

The junior sailing program at Greenwich Flying Squadron is incredibly proud to have three sailors compete in the first round of the NSW State Sabot Championships on Lake Macquarie last weekend 5-6 November 2022.

Olivia Kannegieter hiking out on Chicken Hunter

Eva Pyburn, Theo Anderson and Olivia Kannegieter are inaugural members of the Juniors training program initiated a little over two years ago. The furthest any of our sailors had previously ventured from the sheltered waters in front of the GFS clubhouse was the occasional foray towards cockatoo island.

In the second half of last season, we had been setting small triangle courses to develop the skills needed for racing and in the last few weeks providing instruction on racing rules and start procedures.

When the call when out for interest in travelling to the state championships, there was much trepdiation and flip-flopping before Eva, Theo and Oliva put their hands up to go.

To say it was a huge leap forward to venture forth onto the wide-open waters of Lake Macquarie and compete in a fleet of over 30 boats is an understatement. The first start with lots of boats milling around was daunting to our racing novices who kept well clear of pre-race manoeuvres.

Theo Anderson manoevering before the start of the first race

Starting last our newcomers trailed the fleet but enjoyed a good tussle with a few other boats at the back end. Olivia just completed the first course while the other two ran out of time before the cutoff for the second race.

After mild conditions, a big nor-east sea breeze kicked in and grew rapidly, making conditions quite choppy and our juniors decided zooming around on our rescue boat was more fun and withdrew to watch and learn from the last race. Theo and Eva then had to return to Sydney but were inspired to continue racing.

Overnight the racing committee instigated a new rule, whereby the back fleet was separated into separate division racing one less leg, with their placements in the fleet to be recorded after the last boat completing the full course. With this new arrangement, Olivia was able to complete all three races on Sunday in brisk but less challenging conditions from the day before.

The 2nd round of the State Championships will be held at Vaucluse next February. To build the racing confidence of our juniors, GFS has organised some interclub races with both Drummoyne and Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Clubs before then.

This is a small but important step towards rebuilding the rich racing heritage of our juniors program.

Eva Pyburn crossing the start line

Rigging the boats at Teralba Sailing Club

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