by Laura McKee
The first Sail Townsville festival has launched itself as a regatta to be reckoned with on the professional sailing stage, competitors traveling from all over Australia to participate in the two-weekend event on The Strand. Quality racing, windy conditions, capsizes, proud parents and some marginally close finishes made for a memorable regatta, with stunning weather the cherry on top.
The Sabot 1UP fleet in action on the course. Sunday, September 1
Kids and adults traveled from Noosa, Airlie Beach, Sydney, Melbourne, Mackay and even Papua New Guinea to compete, enjoying Townsville’s sunny blue skies and calm conditions perfect for winter water sports in the tropics.
The Open Dinghy regatta and North Queensland Youth Championships saw 38 boats and 50 sailors compete over the weekend, as well as 19 kites in the Kite Townsville Regatta.
Of the 50 sailors who raced, 20 were local and 18 travelled from outside Townsville. The kite surfers were a different story, with only three locals and 16 coming from outside the region.
On the water today, a 12-17 knot wind speed was ideal for the junior division racers, Double Hander sailors and friends Emma Barsi and Tahryn Kellie taking out first place in their pink-spinnaker boat Carpe Diem. 15-year-old Barsi was pleased with her team’s performance, winning all six races over the weekend.
'It was good and we had lots of fun together. We will definitely do it next year.
'The winds were challenging and our boat capsized because we got the spinnaker caught,' she said.
The Barsi family continued their domination in the competition, with Emma’s younger brother Chris Barsi claiming gold in the Sabot 1UP division, his pink boat Another Menace coming over the line after a tough start.
'It was hard work, there was a guy right behind me all the way but I am happy.
'I didn't think I would win at the start but I got two firsts and one second today,' the 12-year-old said.
Current World Junior Champion Kristen Wadley won the O'Pen BICs junior category in her boat Gas Bag while Indiabeau Laborie from Noosa won the Junior Lasers category.
Peter Buckle won the A class Catamaran division while Marcus Bulstrode was the champion for the adults Lasers division.
However it wasn’t smooth sailing for all, two eight-year-old sailors aboard Peppercorn spending more time in the sea than sailing on it in the Sabot division.
'We came last because the waves were crashing into our boat and we capsized a lot. It was really hard but it is good practice for us.'
Last weekend, 13 Tasars competed in the Queensland State Championships with a total of 26 sailors racing in variable wind conditions of 5-14 knots. The F18 Match Racing competition provided a spectacle for Strand onlookers, with Mick Guinea winning overall.
Locals Renee and Robert Cordingley won the Tasar State Championships and second on countback was Aarion Linton and Hannah O'Brien. Third place was taken out by Peter MacGregor and Angus MacGregor.
Results are still pending for the kite surfing divisions but World number 28 Marvin Baumeister is currently leading the pack. The kite surfing competition concludes on Tuesday.
For more information, please visit The Townsville Sailing Club website