Goolwa Aquatic Club competing at club and state sailing level

YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE: Hamish, Evelyn, Kelly and Alex of the Goolwa Aquatic Club are all smiles ahead of the MUSTO State Optimist Championships at Largs Bay.
YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE: Hamish, Evelyn, Kelly and Alex of the Goolwa Aquatic Club are all smiles ahead of the MUSTO State Optimist Championships at Largs Bay.

The Goolwa Aquatic Club has had a big two weeks on the water, whether sailing at Goolwa or competing in state championships at the Largs Bay Sailing Club.

Red-tipped sails were abundant on the Goolwa lake on Sunday, November 24, with a strong fleet of nine Sabre dinghies making up the lions share of dinghies participating in the afternoon racing at the Goolwa Aquatic Club.

A solitary Laser and two Tasars made up the remainder of the 12-strong Senior fleet, while two Pacers and four Optis also competed in the other divisions in near perfect conditions with a fresh southerly breeze.

In the Senior fleet, Mal Hart and Peg Offler in the Tasar White Sapphire proved elusively quick, taking first place from Dave Steele in Sabre Ratbag Element by a single point, with Rob Gale in Sabre Piccolo sporting the square top sail taking third place.

Racing among the Sabres was particularly tight; the Vintage Boats sharing the course adding an extra element to race strategy.

Good to see Rhys Robinson on the water as the new owner of an old local boat Sea Lion, and Kym Widdows taking his new Sabre for a fresh water rinse for only its second outing.

In the Pacers, Team Spees (Adam and Scarlet) took first place from Team Wilson (David and Brioney), two races to one.

Another win to junior sailor Alex Wilson in the Optis and great sailing by the rest of the junior fleet: Lucas Byrnes, Josh Robinson and Samuel Quilliam.

It was great preparation for the Opti sailors who were heading off to the State Championships at Largs Bay and to the Laser sailors in their State Championships.

Club racing on Sunday, December 1, was unfortunately cancelled due to forecast very strong winds.

The weekend was not without sailing, however, with State Championships for Optimist and Laser classes held at Largs Bay Sailing Club and Henley Sailing Club, respectively, and the Goolwa Aquatic Club were represented at both.

The Optimist Open fleet heading out in blustery conditions on Saturday at Largs Bay.

The Optimist Open fleet heading out in blustery conditions on Saturday at Largs Bay.

In the MUSTO Optimist championships, Goolwa Aquatic Club (GAC) was represented by Kelly Steele (Open fleet), Evelyn Wilson and Hamish Robinson (Intermediate fleet) and Alex Wilson (Green fleet).

Conditions on Saturday were challenging for the Optis, with blustery winds of 15 to 20 knots from the west-south-west and seas of around 0.5 metre.

With stronger winds forecast for Sunday, race officials pushed for six races on Saturday for the Open fleet, five for the Intermediate fleet and four races for the Greens.

A good decision as it turned out, with winds of 25 knots and 1.5 m seas precluding any racing on the Sunday.

Kelly Steele finished 15th in the Open fleet, with a series best individual race result of 12th. Austin Higgins of Brighton Seacliff Yacht Club (BSYC) won the Open State title with wins in all six races sailed and Ellen Sampson, also of BSYC, took second South Australian sailor and Open Female champion.

In the Intermediate fleet, Evelyn Wilson took first place with four wins from five races, another impressive display from this young sailor.

Evelyn won the Green fleet state championship two years ago and has been dominant in the Intermediate fleet this season.

Hamish Robinson took fourth place and was rewarded with a trophy; Hamish has been sailing consistently well also this season; great to see him on the podium.

Tough conditions for the Green fleet sailors; a credit to them all for competing. Congratulations to Alex Wilson of GAC who managed to complete two of the four races, with a 6th and a 7th place, giving him 7th overall.

In the Laser State Championships at Henley, GAC was represented in the Youth (Laser 4.7) division by Izaak Hart, Ian Irwin and Zoe Robinson, each of whom have started with Lasers this season after racing 303s at GAC last season and successful Optimist campaigns prior to that.

Eight races were held on Saturday. Izaak Hart had a brilliant regatta, finishing no lower than 3rd place in any race and taking second place overall and first in the under 16 division. Ian Irwin in 5th with two second places in individual results and Zoe Robinson in 7th overall with a couple of fifth placings.

Congratulations to each of these sailors; fantastic to see current or former GAC sailors making up just under half the youth fleet in this popular class.

Weather permitting, racing resumes at GAC on Sunday, December 8 for the final race meet for the year ahead of the Christmas break.

The new year will see the return of the popular junior learn-to-sail classes at GAC in January, while a number of the club's sailors will be competing in the National Sabre Titles at Wallaroo.

Sunday racing resumes for the new year on January 12, 2020.