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Elite boats find new home in Mooloolaba

'MYC member Hailey Gardiner is pumped about Elliott 6s and new youth program'    Tracey Johnstone

The two yachts used for training by Australia’s London Games silver medal winning Match Racing team have found a home in Mooloolaba. The Elliott 6s, purchased by originally by the Australia Sailing Team for use by Olivia Price and her crew of Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty, were designed and purpose-built for the Olympics.

The team’s Games coach Euan McNicol said, 'they were for the Women’s Match Racing. It (design) is a newer generation of an older design. They put a new modern keel and rudder, and a more modern carbon mast on an existing hull shape, revamping it for the Women’s Match Racing. Then ISAF built about 80 or 100 of them based on people preparing for the Games.

'The boats were used in preparation for the Olympics while in Sydney and made two trips to Weymouth, the venue for the Olympics.

'The last time they were used was in Weymouth. Olivia was on one boat and then a mixture of other people on the other boat. We also used Torvar Mirsky as a training partner in Weymouth, prior to the Olympics.'

The identical boats are now resident in Mooloolaba and ready to be used by Mooloolaba Yacht Club members. Club commodore Tracey Johnstone said, 'they will be used on the river in front of The Wharf for club’s youth development program as well as for women’s race training, University and TAFE student training and racing, and for club members to hone their race skills.

'The arrival of the boats has created a great deal of excitement around the waterfront. Even though they are relatively small at six metres long, they are sleek, current technology race boats that adult, student and youth club members will enjoy using.

'Add in their heritage as the training boats for Australia’s silver medallists and you have two very special boats with a new home and a new lease of life.'

It has been quite some years since Mooloolaba Yacht Club has had an active youth development program. Like many sporting organisations, the club has suffered from the lack of an effective pathway for youth from school dinghy sailing to offshore boats. The Elliotts are mechanism for the club to reengage youth who want to keep sailing and racing in their late teens and into adulthood, but who don’t have their own equipment.

The youth and students will have access to training and then competition in both short course racing and match racing. The goal for this group is to have fun, learn to sail in a team environment, train towards representing the Sunshine Coast in State and national competitions and eventually look to step up to racing on the club member’s sports and offshore race boats.

Queensland Academy of Sport Sailing Program and Australian Sailing Squad member, Mitch Kennedy, believes having the two Elliotts here on the coast will bring back to sailing a lot of youth and student sailors who don’t have access to their own boats.

'It is an excellent opportunity to get out there and mix it up in a bigger boat. To have access to these boats, I think that is awesome.

'The boats will be great as they are not as physical as the smaller dinghies like the Laser. Being on a bigger boats means we can race with a few people, bigger people and with your mates. Racing on them will improve our experience on how to use the spinnaker and learn more boat handling skills.

'I am sure a lot of my mates will be keen. I reckon these boats will open it up to a lot more people getting involved from the wider community.'

The Elliotts are also the perfect size for women’s racing, just ask Australia’s silver medal sailing team. The club will start from February with a Women’s only race training program followed by a Women’s only regatta on the river on the first weekend of June. From there the women will be looking to use the boats to prepare for state and national competition.

Active sailor Kerrie Glen started her sailing in dinghies at Mooloolaba Yacht Club. Since then she has sailed on a number of different type of boats in Australia and overseas. Glen is an eager starter for the Women’s program. 'The big draw-card is it’s a one-design boat and Mooloolaba Yacht Club is supportive of women’s training. The club has a coach in place and programs in place so the club already has that supportive base.

'Also, I am looking forward to getting back into sailing with the women that I have previously been lucky enough to sail with and getting back into the team approach. And I am looking forward to when the other boats get here and the actual match racing that will happen.'

MYC members are champing at the bit to get out on the Elliotts. They will have their first chance on 15th February with short course racing on the river. The course will be laid right in front of the club at The Wharf and The Wharf Tavern. The twilight series is the talk of the weekly Secret Men’s Business as members already wind each other up about who will make a better helm on these racing machines.

Mooloolaba Yachting

by Tracey Johnstone


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7:26 AM Fri 1 Feb 2013GMT

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