Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Battles Are Waged on the Water

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Battles Are Waged on the Water

Article excerpt

ON SHORE they were pleasantly polite, but there were personal battles aplenty off the choppy Hervey Bay shores this week as 40 fliers fought out three national sailing titles.

A young Dutch doctor took it to the men as the only woman skipper among the contestants and, in today's knife-edge finals, may yet best the blokes.

There have been, perhaps, 350 sailors and back-up families in the Bay for a week in a spectacular five days of hammer and tiller competition.

Beating in and out of winds up to 20mph in singles and doubles events for over three hours each day there were no punches pulled for a championship gong at tonight's glitzy presentations.

Affable Hervey Bay Sailing Club president Peter York, also a contestant, saluted the other sailors, male and female, for their competitive edge and good humour as winds, sun and the salt took their toll on plenty of white flesh from around Australia and overseas.

Watching them line up each day it was obvious these sailing toughies hadn't just come to the Bay for our wonderful food and scenery.

One, cracking his knuckles in anticipation, had barely started to shave, but he was built like a proverbial outhouse and showed he was a serious contender by picking up his 100 cwt flier almost on his own.

Council supervisor Terry Thompson, who is also the club secretary and has been sailing since he was a kid living in Papua New Guinea, reckons tough competitions like this week's classic will attract more youngsters to the sport.

At $20,000 for a new cat, and perhaps half that for a used number, the smaller flyers are well below the outlay for a single hull racer.

Competitive cat owners, male and female, are still racing and enjoying them in their 60s and the kids love 'em.

Netherlands sailor and newcomer doctor, Christa van Helden, who has been in Australia on and off for three years sailing and studying, says her cat is an experimental craft, which could end up in the new Olympics. …

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