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90-years-young and still skippering her own sailing boat

by Truelocal/Sail-World on 19 Jun 2012
Anne von Gizycki - photo by Martin Reddy SW
How old is too old to go sailing? To skipper your own sailboat? There's one Australian woman who might be nearly the oldest sailor in the world to be skippering her own sailing boat.

Parkdale Yacht Club sails off the beach in Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay and specialises in such boats as Arrow and Cobra Catamarans, Flying Ant Skiffs, Lasers and Minnows.

But one of their oldest sailors, Anne von Gizycki, 90, claims that she has never been interested in competitive sailing. 'I only do it for the fun of it and the love of being on the water,' she told Truelocal. However, there's no lacking in passion as her eyes light up when she climbs on to her sailboat, Tailwagger.

The Parkdale Yacht Club member has just celebrated her 90th birthday, yet age hasn't stopped her from continuing to set sail out on Port Phillip Bay.

Ms von Gizycki, who joined the club in the 1970s, admits her days of sailing are slowing down, although speed on the water was never her thing.

'I've never been keen on the racing side of things, and I never won anything anyway,' she continued. 'I wasn't ambitious enough to go out and really race, I just can't be bothered.

Club commodore Jim Kariotis said Ms von Gizycki was loved by everyone at the club, which threw a big birthday bash for her impressive milestone.

'She was part of the furniture at the club even when I sailed as a kid,' Mr Kariotis said, 'She was always telling us kids off or hugging us and telling us how gorgeous we all were.'

It is not known how long Ms von Gizycki's sailboat Tailwagger, named in honour of her fondness for dogs, will continue to sail with the club, but even if she is not actually sailing, Ms von Gizycki will certainly continue to be part of Parkdale Yacht Club.

'You couldn't meet a nicer, warmer and more helpful group of people,' she said, 'It really is like a family here and I love it.'

Are there any other inspiring sailors out there to compete on age with Mrs von Gizycki? Sail-World Cruising would love to hear from you.

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