The Australian Pacer National Championship has not only showcased the sailing brilliance of current leaders Alan and Nathan Riley but a four-way tussle for position between boats manned by all female crews, six of them are teenagers..
While Alan and Nathan Riley pulled ahead with a bullet and a third in the two races today one of the best battles is happening mid fleet between four all female crews, of which three boats are all teenagers.
Leading the four crews are McCrae members Casey Imeneo and Evie Knorr, 2808 Flower Power, competing in their second Nationals. Both aged 15 the girls had no specific plans for the regatta other than to 'do well and have fun', their main goal to 'keep on improving'. After today’s two races in 15 knots they are 16 overall on 87 points, also on 87 points and in 17 on count back are Matilda Hiscock and Ellie Riley, 2695 DragonFly. Hiscock is one of the younger skippers in the fleet at just 13, she recently moved out of her Optimist and started sailing with Riley in October this year.
Sailing one of McCrae Yacht Club’s training boats, the clubs Training School Principal and Matilda’s mother Lisa Barrand with crew Louise Mason are in 18th place with 89 points. Safety Beach Sailing Club’s Emma Martin and Georgia Strong, 2822 Little Lizard, are also on 89 points and in 19th place on count back. Martin and Strong aged 16 and 17 respectively have been sailing together for a couple of years and this is their second Nationals. As with the other crews their main aim is to get out on the water and have fun. With two points between the four crews the mid section of the fleet could not get much closer.
As Training School Principal Lisa Barrand is all too aware of the juggling act involved to keep teenagers and girls in particular in the sport. Her instant comment on the placings of the crews 'Go Girls'. However her overriding thought 'anything that keeps teenage girls out on the water and having fun has got to be a good thing'. For these girls it is not important to be at the top of the fleet or win a race, for them the fun on the water and friendship onshore is the key, anything clubs and classes can do to promote this will ensure the successful growth and development of our sport.
by Jane Moffat
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6:57 AM Mon 31 Dec 2012GMT
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